When Sue Kiefer isn’t overseeing human resources for Argo Group US, she’s fighting to make sure children who have been abused or neglected get the support they need.
Kiefer volunteers for Court Appointed Special Advocates for Cook County, Ill. (the county seat is Chicago). Her role is to protect children who have experienced neglect and abuse by providing them a voice in court and ensuring they can find a safe, permanent home and opportunities to grow, learn and thrive.
Speaking up for the voiceless
Their stories can be heart-wrenching. The children often come to the attention of police and the courts after physical or psychological abuse or neglect at home.
“Turn on any news program and you hear stories about children who have been treated so poorly, without care or concern. I simply refuse to sit idly while such atrocities happen,” Kiefer says.
That’s where volunteers such as Kiefer play an important role. They gather information about the children, the parents and the home environment, including interviewing caseworkers, medical professionals, teachers and attorneys.
That information helps judges determine what should happen next. That could include providing parents therapeutic services, temporarily placing children in foster care or preparing them for adoption.
Emotionally draining but rewarding work
Being a court-appointed volunteer is emotionally draining. Many of the children have heartbreaking home lives. But Kiefer’s resolve to help them is unwavering.
“I’m committed to these children and I will support as many as I can,” she says.
Flexible schedule at Argo Group helps
Kiefer credits Argo Group for giving her the flexibility in her schedule to attend meetings, court hearings and other activities related to her volunteer work.
“I’ve had complete acceptance to do what I need to do. I’m so grateful to Argo for that.”