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.

Maggie Salas-Crespo

Communications Coordinator


Maggie developed her passion for policy advocacy and community outreach while working as an Exchange Enrollment Facilitator, and later as an Outreach Associate for Nevada Health Link. During her time with Nevada Health Link, Maggie coordinated outreach efforts statewide to educate Nevadans on the Affordable Care Act and provided assistance for people to enroll for healthcare. After her time with the Nevada exchange, Maggie worked as the Nevada Representative for the Alliance for Healthcare Security where she successfully led grassroots efforts against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Maggie received a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Women’s Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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.

Shema Dannatt

Southern Nevada Story Banking Coordinator


Shema is a native to Las Vegas and a single mother of 5-year-old daughter. She developed her passion for advocacy after completing a few internships within the Justice System in Nevada and caring for her daughter’s severe asthma. Shema’s primary goal is to continue advocating as much as possible for children, especially those who benefit so highly from having health insurance, given her personal fight to make sure her daughter grows up healthy. Shema is currently finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Counseling from Nevada State College.

Michelle Baker

Northern Nevada Story Banking Coordinator


Michelle has always had a passion for activism - whether it’s protecting the environment, fighting for social justice or advocating for equal access to health care. Over the past few years, Michelle has worked as the project coordinator for a Reno non-profit that worked with at-risk youth, where she saw the impact of foster care first hand. Recently, Michelle has taken the initiative to go back to school and is currently enrolled at UNR pursuing a degree in Journalism. Michelle hopes she can be a voice for those who need it most. She spends her free time hiking, biking and snowboarding in her hometown of Truckee and is proud to call Reno her new home.

Mika Alvarez

Northern Nevada Story Banking Coordinator


With news and politics serving as her foundation, Mika discovered a passion for advocacy during her time at UNR. Advocating for the rights of others is something Mika believes in, emphasizing the importance of giving the voiceless a voice. As the daughter of Filipino immigrants, Mika's passions also lie in understanding human nature and shaping individuals into better people. Mika aspires to create future content that reflects this overall goal- whether it be photography, news stories, or design. Mika Alvarez is a first generation fourth year student, currently studying Journalism with a minor in American Government at the University of Nevada in Reno.

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