Voices For Children President/CEO Named New CEO of the California CASA Association
Voices for Children (VFC), a private, nonprofit organization serving foster children with volunteer CASAs (Court Appointed Special Advocates), announced today that Sharon M. Lawrence, Esq., President/CEO since January 1997, will become CEO of the California CASA Association (CalCASA) on November 1, 2017.
VFC Board Chair Jill Skrezyna said, “Our Board of Directors regretfully accepted the news that Sharon Lawrence is leaving Voices for Children after more than 20 years of exceptional service. We could not be prouder that California’s CASA Association chose Sharon to take their organization to the next level. We know that she will use her talent and abilities to transform CalCASA in the same way she transformed Voices for Children. San Diego and Riverside Counties—as well as every county in California—will continue to benefit from her new role.”
During Ms. Lawrence’s tenure with Voices for Children, the organization grew from a grassroots operation serving 529 foster children with 219 CASAs and a budget of $400,000 to one of the three largest CASA programs in the nation with a budget of $6,000,000. During the 2016-2017 fiscal year, VFC will serve 3,300 foster children with advocacy, and recruit, train, and supervise 1,600 CASA volunteers in San Diego and Riverside Counties. VFC has been recognized with numerous awards under her leadership, including The Zanville Helping Hand Awardfrom United Way of San Diego County, Points of Light Service Enterprise certification, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation All Children—All Families seal of recognition, and numerous proclamations from the San Diego City Council, San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and the California State Assembly. As VFC President/CEO, Ms. Lawrence was awarded the National CASA Association’s Executive Director of the Year in 2000, San Diego Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 2008, San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business in 2010, and California 75th Assembly District Woman of the Year in 2011, among many other accolades.
Ms. Lawrence stated, “This is a bittersweet moment. I am so proud of Voices for Children and the work that our CASAs and staff do every day to help boys and girls in foster care. But I leave Voices for Children in good hands—led by an extraordinary Board of Directors and a brilliant staff of 75 individuals committed to making life better for foster children in San Diego and Riverside Counties. I believe that CalCASA is an organization poised for growth, and I look forward to expanding my service to foster children across California through my new statewide role. My vision is that it will be an effective partner for all of the state’s local CASA programs in ways that will enhance their growth and development.”
A national search will be launched immediately for Ms. Lawrence’s replacement. To ensure a smooth transition, she will remain President/CEO of Voices for Children until November 1, 2017.
ABOUT VOICES FOR CHILDREN
Voices for Children (VFC), founded in 1980, transforms the lives of foster children in San Diego and Riverside Counties by providing them with volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs). CASA volunteers advocate for a foster child or sibling group in Court, in school, and in the community to ensure their needs are met. Voices for Children believes that every child deserves a safe and permanent home and strives to provide a CASA volunteer to every child in the foster care system who needs one. Last year, Voices for Children provided CASAs and advocacy to 3,190 local foster children. For more information, visit www.speakupnow.org.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA CASA ASSOCIATION
Founded in 1987, the mission of the California Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association (CalCASA) is to ensure that children in the foster care system have both a voice and the services they need for a stable future. CalCASA achieves this goal by strengthening California’s network of local CASA programs and advocating for progressive child welfare policy and practice. California is home to 44 CASA programs, approximately 400 staff, and more than 8,000 CASA volunteers who serve 12,000+ children in 50 counties. Visitwww.californiacasa.org to learn more.