October 22, 2020
Judge of the year values CASA volunteers
Judge Susan B. Carbon has seen the value of CASA volunteers in her courtroom since the program first began in New Hampshire, where she is the Presiding Judge of the 9th Circuit Court Family Division in Manchester. She has been named the recipient of the National CASA/GAL Association for Children’s 2020 The Honorable David W. Soukup Judge of the Year Award, which honors the outstanding contributions of a judge who has advanced the best interests of children through support of the CASA/GAL model.
Judge Carbon was one of the first jurists to welcome CASA volunteers into her courtroom nearly 25 years ago. From the beginning, she says, the CASA program has made a tremendous impact.
“It was a game changer for us,” Judge Carbon says of the CASA program. “For the first time we had someone who was looking out exclusively for the best interests of the child. These volunteers devote hundreds of hours of their own time to help children. Their commitment and compassion are truly outstanding. They are often the most trusted people in children’s lives.”
Judge Carbon’s inclusive and welcoming manner are evident in her courtroom, where she puts children at ease and ensures their voices are being heard and their best interests are being achieved. She values the work CASA volunteers do to gather and share information through best-interest advocacy for children and youth.
“We could not do our jobs as well as we do without CASA volunteers,” says Judge Carbon of her work on the bench. “The information they gather is invaluable to our decision-making process. They make us better judges.”
In addition to her support of the CASA program, Judge Carbon has an impressive record of service to her profession. In 2010, Judge Carbon was appointed by President Barack Obama to be the Director of the Office of Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice. She has served on many domestic violence and child protection initiatives at the state and national level and has trained judges and other professionals around the world. She is also a past president of both the New Hampshire Bar Association and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).
Working in the family division is where her heart is, she says. “I’ve always felt issues concerning children and families are the most important.”