Pay It 4ward: Woman honored for advocacy work

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – There are thousands of children across New Mexico waiting to find a new foster home, but getting those children in the right home is not always easy. It often relies on volunteers who spend their extra time attending court hearings and meetings to advocate for those children.

Tonight’s Pay It 4ward helps one of those volunteers.

“There’s a lot of people that get out there and talk about problems, but actually seeing somebody that gets out there and solves the problems, that’s a whole different matter,” said James Moore, a Pay It 4ward nominator. 

The foster child placement process is no walk in the park. There’s court hearings, background checks, family evaluations, and a lot more red tape.

But volunteers like Rachel Hertzman are making sure the children aren’t lost in the shuffle.

“Each volunteer gets an assignment, and then they work with that foster child. When they get assigned to a family to make a recommendation about what’s in the best interest of the child, and then they present that recommendation to the court,” said Hertzman. 

Hertzman joined the Court Appointed Special Advocate program –  or CASA – more than three years ago to make a difference where it matters most.

“I feel that New Mexico’s children are its most precious, under-utilized natural resource. And so really, as an Albuquerque Public Schools employee and just having grown up in New Mexico, I feel like we need to prioritize New Mexico children, and so that’s how I can do that,” Hertzman said. 

So far, she’s only worked with one foster child – a testament to the challenges of the placement process, and Hertzman’s dedication.

“Unfortunately, we hear too much about the bad things happening with children, and you don’t hear about the good things happening, and she’s just one of those champions for the children in New Mexico, and what she’s doing is absolutely amazing, and she definitely deserves recognition for our work,” said Moore. 

So, it was time to Pay It 4ward with $400.

Watch the video above for more.