Meet our Staff
Annie Rasquin, LISW has been working in public service in Santa Fe and rural New Mexico for over two decades. She began her career in emergency medicine as a Paramedic Firefighter with the City of Santa Fe. Trained as a Social Worker and Infant Mental Health Therapist, Annie has worked for the past fifteen years in early intervention and behavioral health specializing with trauma impacted children and families.
Annie has extensive clinical supervision and infant mental health program experience and has consulted with and managed multiple non-profit behavioral health programs specializing in trauma informed care for vulnerable children and families. Annie was formerly the Family Services Program Director with TeamBuilders and Program Director of the Las Cumbres Community Infant Program, designated by SAMSHA as the regional child trauma treatment center. She has collaborated with and provided training to CASAs, CYFD, foster parents, and Head Start on infant mental health, the neuro-biological impact of trauma, the development of early self regulation and social emotional skills and the impact of abuse and neglect on children. Her volunteerism includes hospital fundraising, special events, emergency first response and international relief work.
Annie resides in Santa Fe with her family, dog and chickens. In her leisure Annie explores the wilderness of New Mexico, rock climbs, practices her French, and gardens.
Annie is committed to serving families in Northern New Mexico through advocacy and community partnership.
Michele Harwood joins CASA First Judicial District with a strong background in child advocacy and early childhood development. She was first introduced to the foster care system when she became a CASA volunteer in 2002, advocating for children in Santa Fe and Rio Arriba counties. During this experience, she witnessed the special needs of children in foster care, including emotional and developmental challenges. This realization shifted her focus to delivering developmental guidance to infants and toddlers with delays. Michele has a BS degree in elementary education and has completed 27 graduate hours in special education. She was an early intervention developmental specialist and family service coordinator for 12 years which allowed her to foster extensive community relationships in the medical, education, and social service areas. Michele mentored new staff, participated with teams to promote children and their development, evaluated infants developmentally and attended extensive trainings on the effects of trauma on children and their development. Additionally, she worked with CYFD on CAPTA (Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act) referrals, was part of a state team that developed outcome measures for children in New Mexico, and worked with families receiving Child Protective Services In-Home services.
Establishing relationships with families, providing developmental guidance, and sharing joy with parents as their child grows was very rewarding, and working for CASA provides Michele the opportunity to continue with this work. Her direct experience with community resources and extensive training —on the complications that drug-exposed babies experience, trauma resulting from domestic violence, and the risks that are associated with multiple home placements — are assets for CASA volunteers and the families they serve.
Michele has made Santa Fe her home for many years. Her three daughters were born and raised here. She loves tennis, animals, hiking, and the people who make up the charm and character of Santa Fe. She finds it a great honor to work with this amazing agency and its dedicated, hardworking, and professional volunteers who advocate on behalf of children and speak in their best interest.
I am very excited and motived to be part of CASA First team. I enjoy working with children and my community. My background involves working closely with children in several different aspects. Through a summer reading and nutrition program called Energy Express, I learned how to assess the situations of underprivileged children and youth in a way to better assist their needs and the needs of the local community. I have worked with a family court judge, in which I learned to better understand the legal process of family cases and the importance of having a GAL or community volunteer in cases involving children. I worked with the Women’s Empowerment and Addiction Recovery Program which provided me with additional knowledge and understanding of criminal cases and those involved, along with a better understanding of the community needs and issues. My time spent with the Victim Assistance Division has been essential in being able to understand and assist individuals in varying situations and circumstances. My background has exposed desire in me to remain in a position in which I can directly assist the community and address their needs. In addition to having a passion for helping my community, I enjoy reading, spending time with my family, and walking my puppy.
Foster Youth Advocacy Program Coordinator
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style”
– Maya Angelou
Veronica is an enrolled member of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona and also has Jemez and Navajo heritage. She spent time in the New Mexico Foster Care System before she and her younger sister were adopted by two caring parents. She attended and graduated from Fort Lewis College with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health in 2017. After graduating, Veronica returned home to New Mexico, where she has found her passion for supporting and working with foster and native youth. As our Foster Youth Advocacy Program Coordinator, Veronica is able to provide peer to peer support for current foster youth. She also is able to provide personal insight, perspective and support to our volunteers and local community providers who are working with foster youth. Veronica has established herself as a local, young leader by joining CASA First but also Tewa Women United, primarily working with native youth as a community facilitator. She also serves as a member of the New Mexico Child Protective Services Task Force, co-chairing the team focused on reunification, and as a member of the National Foster Youth and Alumni Policy Council. Veronica was recognized as an Outstanding Young Leader by FosterClub in 2019. Veronica aspires to be a role model and supportive and positive adult for other children, youth and young adults in the child welfare system and communities of color.
Living so close to her family, Veronica enjoys daily walks in the dog park with her parents, sister and the family dogs. Her family has supported both Veronica and CASA First by regularly attending our community events. Veronica and her sister have recently started volunteering for the New Mexico Center for Therapeutic Riding, as they both share a love for horses.
Miranda Saint James
Administrative Assistant and Youth Ambassador Program Director
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead
Miranda Saint James was born and raised in Santa Fe, NM. Inspired by the many cultures, various arts, and diverse mindsets, she made the decision to dedicate herself to the community she grew up in.
Miranda has volunteered through a variety of organizations. From coaching a local children’s t-ball team, fostering animals, and helping out at Santa Fe Public Schools, she has continuously enjoyed serving others. Miranda feels working with children has always been the most rewarding aspect of community service because they are our future leaders.
For the past four years, Miranda has volunteered as a Court Appointed Special Advocate and a CASA Ambassador. Within this organization, she quickly realized that providing support and assistance to children in need was her true calling and has joined CASA First as the Administrative Assistant.
In her free time, Miranda most enjoys being a wife, mother, and an artist. You can find her exploring the art galleries downtown, hiking with her family, or at home painting. Grateful for the opportunities in her life, Miranda hopes through her advocacy she can make a positive impact that will grow far beyond the community she loves.