Each child client who enters through CLC’s doors at a time of stress and uncertainty is greeted by Carmen with kindness, warmth, and a reassuring smile.
Meet Carmen Heltsley
For over 30 years, CLC has been on a mission to improve the lives of the children and youth in the California foster care system…and we are lucky Carmen Heltsley has been a part of that mission for 22 of those years! Each child client who enters through CLC’s doors at a time of stress and uncertainty is greeted by Carmen with kindness, warmth, and a reassuring smile. She is a critical part of CLC’s work and we are thrilled for you to get to know her!
What inspired you to work for an organization like CLC?
When I came to CLC, I had just had a baby, and I was looking for a steady job to support my growing family. I have stayed at CLC for 22 years because the culture of CLC supports all families. This is home. CLC’s mission to support children and their families is not just a tagline or a gimmick. The work we do carries over from the courthouse right into our offices and our own homes.
What is the most important thing you have learned in your 22 years working at CLC?
Everyone’s situation is unique, and we should be less judgmental of others. Coming into this work, it can be easy to make a snap judgment about someone. The more you learn, the more you understand different family situations, and you are inspired to help others and support as many families as you can. We must open our eyes to see the inequity that exists in the world and this country. Over the years, I have continued to learn about the families we serve, and my heart goes out to so many of them.
What is your most memorable moment at CLC?
That’s hard, that’s hard. Wow. I really can’t pick one out. I can’t think of one because there are so many. For me, it is the day-to-day interaction with staff that is memorable. It is so wonderful when you hear a colleague is pregnant, and then you get to meet the new baby. Getting to know the people here is like family. If I had to pick one thing, watching the growth has been the most memorable. When I first started working at CLC, there were five investigators and 15 attorneys in each firm. That was it. There were three of us in administration, and I did a little bit of everything. Watching the growth has been so incredible because it means we can serve more children and families and bring them the advocacy and support they need.
What advice would you give to the new staff coming to CLC?
I always tell new folks that everything is going to be okay. We are all learning together. This is a great place to work, and everyone is friendly and very open.
What would you like people to know about you?
I love being a mom and that is why I’ve dedicated my life and career to strengthening families. My children are my passion and what I love most in the world—mom extraordinaire.