Why We Advocate for
Our Children

The Children's Advocacy Alliance (CAA) is a
community-based nonprofit that understands the importance of
mobilizing people, resources, and reason to create a better future for
our children.

We believe healthy families make healthy children

CAA believes that by providing the right services at the right time, vulnerable families can be supported, child abuse and neglect can be prevented, and the effects of trauma and harm can be reduced.

CAA advocates for a paradigm shift in public perception: from “save the child” to “save the family.” This approach emphasizes the critical need to provide help and services at the beginning of the cycle through preventive steps and measures, rather than at the end of the cycle, most often associated with children entering the foster care system.

Our work drives community, data,
education, and advocacy

Concentric Convener

CAA will engage organizations, agencies, families, and stakeholders to address issues, barriers, challenges, and opportunities regarding support for children's well-being.

Education & Outreach

CAA will lead public education and outreach campaigns on behalf of service providers advancing families' and children's wellbeing.

Data Driver

CAA will be a data-driven policy advocacy group that will highlight issues and advance evidence based policies and practices in Nevada.

Policy Advocate

CAA will serve as an independent voice to advocate on behalf of Nevada’s children and families, as well as those providing services on their behalf, regarding policy changes, resources, and crucial community support necessary to ensure safe, stable, and healthy families.

A diverse Nevada
is a better Nevada

The Children’s Advocacy Alliance is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion within the organization and in the work that we do in order to serve all residents in the State. Nevada is fundamentally diverse in its people, its workforce, its cultures, and its regions, and we are committed to ensuring that we support this diversity in all forms, including but not limited to economic circumstance, education, geographic location, ability, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and gender identification, race, religion, and age.

Meet the Team

Denise Tanata, J.D.

Executive Director


Denise has been working in the field of child advocacy in Nevada since 1998. She has extensive experience conducting applied research and policy analysis on children’s issues, with an emphasis on translating research and data to improve policy and practice. In addition to numerous academic papers, reports and publications in the fields of child welfare, early childhood education and children’s health, Denise has also presented on legislative advocacy focused on empowering individuals toward collective action. She previously served as a Senior Scholar at the Lincy Institute at UNLV and also served as the Executive Director of the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy (NICRP) in the School of Community Health Sciences at UNLV. Denise received her Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies from UNLV, with a minor in Sociology and received her Juris Doctorate from the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV. She serves on numerous boards and coalitions aimed at improving the lives of children and families in Nevada and is the recipient of the US Congressional Flag by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for her commitment to the children of Nevada as an academic, advocate and volunteer.

Jared Busker

Associate Director


Jared is passionate about combating systemic poverty throughout Nevada. Before working at the Children's Advocacy Alliance, he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA where he developed his passion for combating poverty. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Economics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and is currently working to complete his Master's in Urban Leadership at the same institution. Jared has served as the Treasurer of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Southern Nevada and as a Board Director for the Nevada Council on Economic Education. In his free time, Jared enjoys hiking and camping with his dog.

Shelby Henderson

School Readiness Policy Manager


Shelby’s passion for child advocacy was ignited by her work as a 2012 Teach for America Corps member in the Las Vegas Valley. During her two year commitment, Shelby was a lead pre-school teacher at Acelero Head Start Stewart Center. While working at Acelero, Shelby witnessed the value of high quality early childhood education and realized the lack of access to high quality programs in Nevada. In addition to her teaching experience, Shelby has expertise with family and community outreach. She was most recently an Urban Leader Fellow who worked with the Colorado legislature developing Pay for Success legislation and worked with the Colorado Department of Education researching Kindergarten Entry Assessments. Shelby received her Bachelor’s Degrees in Political Science and History from the University of North Texas and received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Emma Rodriguez

Children's Health Policy Manager


As a sixth generation Nevadan and mother to a toddler, Emma is committed to creating a better future for her son and all of Nevada’s children. Emma joined CAA after working for nearly a decade in the United States Senate in Washington, DC, where she helped advance the Affordable Care Act and most recently worked to halt the ACA repeal and replace efforts. Emma’s primary goal is to ensure that all of Nevada’s children have access to quality health care. Emma received her Bachelor’s Degree in Spanish from Whitman College, with a minor in Politics and received her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

DaShun Jackson

Safety Policy Manager


As a foster care alumnus, DaShun has a true passion for changing the foster care system. DaShun started a club called Kids In Need, which focused on giving back to local community shelters and empowering youth who faced challenges and has also worked with FAAYT (Foster And Adopted Youth Together) and Nevada Life’s Youth Advisory Council where he served in many capacities all focused on changing the foster care system and empowering and encouraging youth and young adults to stand up and use their voice. He, alongside two other foster care alumni, helped develop and create Nevada’s Foster Care Bill of Rights which passed in 2011. DaShun has participated in internships at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), where he worked in Washington, D.C and was able to develop policy recommendations and work in former Senator Harry Reid’s Senate Diversity Initiative Office. DaShun also interned in Seaside O.R. with FosterClub Inc. where DaShun was able to travel and work with policy and community leaders and young people in the foster care system. He has sat on and, currently sits on, several boards locally and nationally. DaShun is currently finishing up his degree at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Aaliyah Goodie

Data Analyst


Aaliyah is passionate about decreasing and working to eliminate disparities among youth and low-income populations. Her passion generated from growing up in underprivileged communities and developed during her time researching as an undergraduate student. She has done research in the area of children’s and women’s health, policy, and is currently researching disparities in administrative pediatric asthma prevalence in Clark County School District. Aaliyah graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Public Health from San Diego State University and is currently earning her MPH with concentration in Biostatistics and Epidemiology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Berdie Woodhouse

Administrative Assistant


After many years in the accounting profession, Berdie has stepped away from preparing financial statements, budgets and taxes, and has taken the position of Administrative Assistant with CAA. Prior to joining the CAA team, Berdie had the opportunity to work as a Legislative Assistant (2013 Legislative Session) and a Proofreader for the Senate Committee on Finance (2017 Legislative Session). She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Medical Technology and ten years later earned a second degree in Accounting from Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

Lela Arney



In 2002, Lela began working with young children in a preschool setting. She sought other employment options after getting married yet returned to her true passion in 2009 when she accepted a teaching position in a 3-year-old classroom at His Kids Preschool. Encouraged to pursue a college degree, she started her educational journey in fall of 2011. In March of 2012 she became the Director of His Kids Preschool, serving children 6 weeks to sixth grade. She graduated from Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) in 2016 with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education and transferred the following semester to University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). In conjunction with her studies at TMCC and UNR, she has worked to implement current research-based approaches to learning in her preschool classrooms, partnering with TACSEI and QRIS. In addition to her early education experience, she has been a member of the NevAEYC-Reno Chapter Board as the Educational Chair and the Early Childhood Advisor on the Washoe County Council on Family Engagement Board. She is completing an internship with the Northern Nevada office of Children’s Advocacy Alliance and will graduate this upcoming Summer with a Bachelor Degree in Human Development and Family Studies.

David Boire



David’s first career was as a United States Marine. After retirement, he enrolled at the University of Reno Nevada to obtain his degree in social work and has established himself as an active member of the Reno community by participating in different social advocacy projects. As a student, he is part of the Nevada Policy Practice Academy pursuing his future in social work through policy, legislation, and advocacy. David plans to continue his education at the university while pursuing his master’s degree in social work. Upon graduation, he plans on continuing to work to fulfill his lifelong passion of helping others who need a hand up, and those who have found themselves without a voice by advocating for his community, and the issues that impact them most. David’s main passions for advocacy are children, education, healthcare, disability, mental health, veterans’ health care, homelessness, and addiction to name a few. For leisure, David enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, swimming, camping, community building activities, and raising his son, Anthony and daughter, Gianna. - “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

The Board of Directors

The CAA is overseen by a diverse Board of Directors representing multiple
facets of the community who are dedicated to improving the lives of
children and families in Nevada.

Amanda Connor


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Dawn Gibbons


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Gard Jameson

President / Chairman

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Lynn Purdue

Vice President / Vice Chair

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Justice Miriam Shearing


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Virginia Valentine

Secretary / Treasurer

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Andre Wade


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Elaine Wenger-Roesener


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Hilary Westrom


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Our Partners

In the news

Analysis: Advocates look to 2018 midterms to restore, protect ACA

May 30, 2018 By Ric Anderson

Celebrating 20 years of advocacy

May 30, 2018 By Maggie Salas-Crespo

Nevada Ranks Among Worst States for Children’s Well-Being

July 5, 2018 By Katherine Davis-Young

Children’s Advocacy Alliance selected as Nevada’s New KIDS COUNT Grantee

July 5, 2018 By Maggie Salas Crespo

Our Financials

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we publicly provide our financial reports as a way to hold ourselves to the highest professional standards and to ensure that every dollar you donate is put to good use.

Contact us


Las Vegas

5258 S. Eastern Ave #151
Las Vegas, NV 89119





3500 Lakeside Ct. #209
Reno, NV 89509