AP NEWS

Community Service Award: Chris Hanson

April 8, 2019

CASA volunteer Paula Stack credits Chris Hanson as being by her side for the past two years.

“As a newly sworn-in (CASA) advocate, I felt simultaneously nervous about beginning a case, and excited to put the knowledge I had gained during training to use,” Stack said in her letter nominating Hanson for the Heart of Broomfield Community Service Award.

Hanson helped Stack select a case she felt comfortable with and walked her through the process of being a court appointed special advocate for CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties and advocating for three children traumatized by domestic violence.

“She told me at our first meeting to call, text or email her with absolutely anything, any time,” Stack said. “Chris has a calm, reassuring demeanor and it is clear that she cares deeply about CASA and the volunteers with whom she works.”

Local attorney Robert Grant, who serves as chairman of the board of CASA of Adams & Broomfield Counties, called Hanson “the heart” of abused and neglected children over the past 16 years.

She began volunteering with CASA in 2002 and joined the staff in 2004. She became Broomfield Program Coordinator in 2007 and “has been going above and beyond” for Broomfield children ever since, Grant said.

CASA advocates for the best interest of children who are going through the court system. CASA recruits and trains volunteers who investigate circumstances cases and act as a child’s voice in court through written reports and testimony to judges.

Program coordinators work directly with volunteers to identify and support optimum outcomes for children. Hanson has provided guidance, training and mentorship of more than 75 different volunteers assisting more than 250 abused children.

“For a decade and more Chris has been the best of the best,” Grant said. “She is tireless in her support for all of her volunteers, day and night, seven days a week.”

Hanson has also volunteered with A Precious Child in Broomfield, the Salvation Army, Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue and Bal Swan. She sits on the Broomfield Early Childhood Council, which aims to make more cohesive and efficient programs involving young children and families, the Broomfield Best Practice Court Team, whose goal is to make sure the systems in place and new systems being introduced are in the best interests of children and families, and the Broomfield Human Services DANSR Team.

Alycia Mueller, CASA marketing communications coordinator, said children who enter the child welfare system, through no fault of their own, are often left to navigate the judicial system solo when they enter foster care.

More than 1,600 children have open cases in Adams and Broomfield counties, she said, and CASA tries to advocate for as many children as possible. It’s a daunting task, but in 2018, the organization saw to it that 6 percent of children who had a volunteer advocate found a safe, permanent home.

“Through her professionalism and compassion, Chris has cultivated a loyal group of Broomfield volunteers who make a real impact in the lives of abused children in our community,” Stack said. “She encourages all of us to speak up for the children for whom we advocate.”

Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, riosj@broomfieldenterprise.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios