ELIZABETH, NJ – At risk children now have a new advocate with the appointment of Marla Higginbotham as the executive director for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County.

Higginbotham brings extensive experience to her new role. Most recently, she was the senior director of operations and foundation relations at Jersey Cares,where she coordinated the grant process, managed the budget, executed financial operations and compliance, and oversaw all technology systems for the organization. In her previous position as senior program manager, she led all program efforts with more than 80 nonprofit agency partners statewide, managing more than 145 project coordinators and 1,200 volunteers monthly.

"It is with great pride I join CASA of Union County as executive director,” noted Higginbotham. “The years I’ve spent working toward empowering community volunteers to meet community needs dovetails wonderfully with this new and exciting opportunity. CASA of Union County directly impacts our community’s children at their most vulnerable, altering their lives for the better, and I so look forward to being part of it, working with all community stakeholders, and ensuring the best interests of Union County foster youth continue to be a top priority.”

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CASA is a nonprofit organization that has been recruiting, training, supervising and supporting community volunteers since 2005 to advocate for abused, neglected and abandoned children placed in foster care or residential facilities.

 “The board is delighted to find such an impressive talent with sound leadership and operational experience in running a nonprofit whose work depends largely upon volunteers,” said Jennifer Mutch, president of the Board of Trustees. “She’s committed to helping children at risk and her experience at Jersey Cares makes Higginbotham just right to steer CASA as it continues to grow and broaden its community impact. She’s also just in time for this year’s Foster the Dream Gala fundraiser Nov. 4. Planning efforts are underway and we’re thrilled to have her on board at this exciting time.”