Hearts of Yolo: Michelle Hahn

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Michelle Hahn spent 14 years as a high-tech engineering and management professional before following her calling to become a family law attorney. For many reasons, Yolo County CASA is close to Michelle Hahn’s heart. She is no stranger to child protective services cases and custody disputes. “In law school I worked in law clinics for two years, helping families who didn’t have the funds to hire an attorney. I worked on many guardianship cases and I made the decision my legal career would be devoted to helping families through these types of issues.”

Michelle herself comes from a challenging childhood and uses her perspective to help her clients nurture their children through hard times. “I always encourage my clients to see things through the eyes of the child. A lot of times we forget to put the child’s feelings first, when really, it should always be our number one priority to speak up for those who can’t always speak for themselves.”

In addition to spending her days advocating for children and families, Michelle is also on Yolo County CASA’s Advisory Council. “In law school, many of the cases I worked on at the legal clinic had a dependency component, which is how I became aware of both Yolo County and Sacramento CASA. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to help Yolo County CASA through its advisory board. It’s an extremely worthy organization and someday when I have the time to adequately support a foster child, I intend to become a CASA volunteer.”

As Michelle navigates through both her work as a family law attorney and on the advisory council, her guiding question is, “How do we minimize the harms that traumatic events have caused for the children involved?” As Michelle reflects on this question, transitional aged foster youth come to mind.

“I’ve heard many stories about foster children ‘aging out’ of the system since I became more heavily involved in Yolo County CASA. I am always moved to hear just how long CASA volunteers stay in touch with their youth after he or she reaches adulthood. Sometimes I compare it to my work assisting foster parents pursue adoption after a youth turns 18 so that the youth always has a family to call home. In the absence of that, CASAs provide the most beautiful long-term friendships. I am constantly hearing these types of stories and they really touch me.”

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