Cindy Booth to Retire as CEO of Child Advocates

Posted on August 16th, 2023

CEO, Child Advocates' CEO, Child Advocates leader

After a 30-year career at Child Advocates, Inc., including serving as the Chief Executive Officer for the past 28 years, Cindy Booth will retire from that position in 2024.

Booth leads a not-for-profit organization that advocates for access to equity, justice, and well-being for children throughout Indiana, including those in the child welfare system who have experienced abuse or neglect. “Child Advocates has been a recognized leader in child welfare because of our experienced and compassionate staff, board, and volunteers,” Booth said. “It’s been a great privilege to have worked alongside such amazing colleagues throughout my career to create a better path for children.”

“Cindy’s contributions to Child Advocates have been invaluable,” said Katherine Malarsky, chair of the Child Advocates’ Board of Directors. “Her passion for helping children and families achieve their best outcomes across the state of Indiana has been amazing to watch. I look forward to helping celebrate Cindy in the coming days – her legacy and contributions should be praised and honored.”

Cindy began her career at Child Advocates in 1994, as the organization’s first full-time staff attorney, representing the best interests of Child Advocates’ clients in juvenile court. She became CEO in 1996 and led the organization through a transformational period of growth to serve the needs of children in the child welfare system in Marion County, as the court-appointed special advocate, and beyond. Over the course of her career, Child Advocates has won national and local awards for representing the best interests of more than 100,000 children and youth.

Cindy has received accolades for her focus on marginalized and racially diverse children and communities. This year, the Indiana Minority Business Magazine gave Cindy a “Champions of Diversity” award for her leadership in creating Child Advocates’ race equity program, Interrupting Racism for Children, to help address the disproportionality of Black and brown children in the child welfare system. Over the years, these workshops have educated thousands of people statewide in support of the goal to create a better future for every child. The National CASA (court-appointed special advocate) organization has given Child Advocates two Diversity Awards over the years.

In reflecting on Cindy’s contributions, Judge Geoffrey Gaither, Marion County Superior Court, Family Division, said, “I don’t even want to think about a child welfare system that does not include Cindy Booth. She has been such a force for change, equality, inclusion, and thoughtfulness for many years. She will leave a huge legacy of compassion and empathy that will be challenging to duplicate. A fierce advocate of children and families who face systemic opposition, many will never know about her grace, dignity, and ferocious appetite for improving the quality of life for the least of us. She will leave mighty big shoes, that can be worn, but never filled.”

“Cindy is a visionary, a mentor, and a servant-leader of the highest order,” said Judge Ryan Gardner, Marion County Superior Court, Family Division. “Cindy deserves all of her flowers. The impact that she has had not only on the juvenile world but also on the lives of those who have had the pleasure of working with her and getting to know her, will be felt for generations to come. In my view, she is a living legend and a giant in our community.”

The Child Advocates board of directors has appointed an Executive Transition Task Force to oversee the search for the organization’s next leader.