(July 17, 2019) RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA—Kelly Capen Douglas has been appointed president & chief executive officer of Voices for Children(VFC), the local nonprofit organization certified by the Court in Riverside and San Diego Counties to recruit and train Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers. CASAs serve as consistent, trusted adults for children who are in foster care after experiencing abuse or neglect. In addition, CASAs have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of foster children by providing critical information to judges making decisions about the children’s futures.
Douglas will be responsible for leading the entire organization beginning October 14, 2019. She will work closely with Jessica Muñoz, executive director for Riverside County, who has led the day-to-day operations of the organization’s CASA program in the county since 2015.
Douglas has spent the last 26 years working in the legal and higher education communities. She has served as the general counsel of the University of San Diego since 2005, where she led the university’s legal department and was the chief legal advisor to the board of trustees. Before joining USD, she was a partner at Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps LLP (now Dentons). Douglas received a law degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Stanford University.
An engaged community volunteer, Douglas currently serves as vice chair of the Goodwill Industries of San Diego board of directors, and is active in various leadership roles with the National Association of College and University Attorneys. She was honored by both organizations for her service, receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award from Goodwill and the First Decade Award from NACUA. She was recognized most recently as a 2019 recipient of the First Chair Award, which recognizes in-house counsel around the country who have made significant contributions to the legal community.
Ms. Douglas and her husband, J.D. Douglas, chief financial officer at the Challenged Athletes Foundation, have two adult children, Courtney and Collin, who are students at Stanford University.
Board chair William B. Sailer said, “On behalf of the board of directors, I am honored to welcome Kelly to Voices for Children. Her diverse experiences at USD and Luce Forward will help her lead VFC in its mission of advocating on behalf of foster children in Riverside and San Diego Counties. An exhaustive search was conducted, and the board is grateful to the many qualified candidates who expressed interest in the role. As we welcome Kelly, we would also like to express our profound gratitude to David Bialis for generously serving as interim CEO during our search and until Kelly joins us in October.”
“I am honored to join our dedicated and passionate Court Appointed Special Advocates, staff, board members, and other stakeholders, as we continue to advance Voices for Children’s tradition of excellence and impact in our community,” said Ms. Douglas. “Through our CASAs -and the power of strong relationships and human connection -we have the unique opportunity to change the trajectory of the lives of our foster children and other at-risk youth.”
ABOUT VOICES FOR CHILDREN
Founded in 1980, Voices for Children (VFC) transforms the lives of abused, neglected, and abandoned children in foster care in San Diego and Riverside Counties by providing them with trained volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). CASA volunteers advocate for a foster child or sibling group in Court, school, and in the community to ensure their needs are met. VFC believes that every child deserves a safe and permanent home, striving to provide a CASA volunteer to every child in the foster care system who needs one. Last year, VFCCASAs and staff advocated on behalf of more than 3,000 foster children across San Diego and Riverside Counties. For more information, visit www.speakupnow.org.
ABOUT VFC’S RIVERSIDE COUNTY PROGRAM
California law allows the Juvenile Court to designate one organization per county as its official CASA program. This designation gives a CASA volunteer the legal authority to investigate the circumstances of a child who has been abused or neglected, spend time with the child, and make best interest recommendations to the Juvenile Court. In early 2015, Voices for Children was asked by the State of California Judicial Council to rebuild the CASA program in Riverside County. In June 2015, VFC’s Riverside County CASA program launched. Since then, the program exceeded its early goals and continues to grow, serving more than 400children through the advocacy of more than 300CASA volunteers. With the addition of the program in Riverside County, VFC has the opportunity to provide CASAs to 13percentof all foster children across the state of California.