Jessica Muñoz, Esq., MFS has been named President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Voices for Children, the regional nonprofit organization designated by the San Diego and Riverside County Superior Courts to recruit, train, and support Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers. CASAs serve as consistent, caring adults for children who are in foster care after experiencing abuse, neglect, or abandonment. In addition, CASAs advocate on behalf of children in foster care by providing critical information to judges making decisions about the children’s futures. Muñoz has been with the organization since January 2016 as the Executive Director for the Riverside County program and more recently as the Executive Vice President for the entire organization. She succeeds Kelly Capen Douglas, Esq. who has served as President & CEO since October 2019 and has been named the next General Counsel at Santa Clara University.
During her term as President & CEO, Douglas guided Voices for Children through the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, created financial strength and stability for the organization, and led the implementation of a new Strategic Plan which provides a holistic framework for Voices for Children’s strength and success in the years to come.
Chair of the Voices for Children Board of Directors, Annette Bradbury, said, “The board is delighted to promote Jessica to the role of President & CEO of Voices for Children. Her appointment is a natural progression in a career she has devoted to vulnerable children, youth, and families affected by legal systems. During her seven years leading the Riverside County program Jessica has developed authentic, long-lasting relationships with community leaders, child welfare partners, and supporters leading to year-on-year growth in the number of children served and revenue. She has demonstrated her extraordinary ability to inspire others to embrace our mission by becoming CASA volunteers, investing in Voices for Children, and providing platforms to tell our story.”
“We would also like to express our profound gratitude to Kelly Capen Douglas for her leadership, dedication, and strategic vision over the last three and a half years. Kelly has successfully guided Voices for Children through the ever-changing landscape during the pandemic, building on our financial health, community support, and advocacy for vulnerable children in San Diego and Riverside Counties.”
Muñoz is an attorney and practiced for more than seven years, including four years as a trial attorney in juvenile dependency courts in both Los Angeles and San Diego Counties. Prior to joining Voices for Children, she developed and coordinated a program at UC San Diego to provide support services to students who are undocumented. In addition to her law degree, she holds a Master of Forensic Science degree and a professional certificate in nonprofit management. Muñoz is a past chair of the County of San Diego Juvenile Justice Commission and served on the board of the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet. Her professional affiliations include the State Bar of California, the Riverside County Bar Association, Leadership Riverside, and the Fieldstone Leadership Network. Muñoz was named the 2022 Juvenile Law Attorney of the Year by the Riverside County Bar Association. She is a resident of Fallbrook.
“I am grateful for and humbled by this opportunity to be of greater service to our CASA volunteers, Board of Directors, staff, community stakeholders, and – most importantly – the children who count on us every day,” Muñoz said. “I’m excited to continue working alongside my colleagues at Voices for Children to make the advocacy CASA volunteers provide possible for children across San Diego and Riverside Counties.”
“It has been an incredible honor to lead Voices for Children,” Douglas said. “Working in collaboration with our staff, CASAs, board members, court and community partners, and philanthropic supporters, I am very proud of all that we have accomplished to provide our region’s most vulnerable children with the advocacy, care, and dignity that they deserve. I will continue to be a strong supporter of Voices for Children, and I am thrilled that the Board of Directors has selected Jessica to lead the organization into the future.”
Douglas and Muñoz will work closely during the transition. Muñoz will be responsible for leading the entire organization beginning March 1.
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 child or sibling group in foster care in court, school, and the community to ensure their needs are met. VFC believes 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, VFC CASAs and staff served more than 3,400 children in foster care across San Diego and Riverside Counties. For more information, visit www.speakupnow.org.