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

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Concentric Convener

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

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Education & Outreach

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

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Data Driver

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

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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

Dr. Tiffany Tyler-Garner

Executive Director

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Dr.Tyler-Garner's personal and professional achievements reveal a visionary champion for children and families in the State. Since moving to Las Vegas in 2005, Dr. Tyler-Garner has committed to improving the education system for all children in Nevada. Through the Alliance Program, Dr. Tyler-Garner worked extensively to identify children in jeopardy of dropping out of school and provided support to ensure they graduated. She has served as a McNair Scholars Program mentor to underrepresented, low-income, and/or first-generation college undergraduates. During her time as COO of Nevada Partners, The White House recognized it as a model workforce development program, an award given to only thirty distinguished organizations. Tyler-Garner also served as CEO of Communities in Schools of Nevada where she oversaw the administration of CIS programs and services to 68,000 Nevadan students and more than 63 schools statewide. In 2019, Dr. Tyler-Garner was appointed as director of the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation by Governor Steve Sisolak and was also honored by UNLV's College of Education as Alumna of the Year that same year. Dr. Tyler-Garner has a Doctorate in Educational Psychology from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a Master of Science in Counseling from California State University, Northridge, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Southern California.

DaShun Jackson

Director of Children's Safety and Welfare Policy

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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.

Anna Villatoro

Media Advocacy Manager

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Anna Villatoro spearheads communications at the Children's Advocacy Alliance, a nonpartisan independent children's policy advocacy organization dedicated to improving conditions for children in the areas of child welfare, economic well being, healthcare, and school readiness. As a strategist, Anna routinely leads efforts to amplify voices and raise awareness of the issues impacting all Nevada's children. Recently, Ms. Villatoro's efforts have included a strong focus on ensuring every Nevadan is counted in the census by highlighting the power in representation.

Priscilla Acosta

Strong Start Prenatal-to-Three Coordinator

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Priscilla Acosta joins the CAA team with a passion for early childhood equity in underserved communities. She has worked determinedly to become a leader in the early care and development field. She thrives on being a vocal advocate for children and families not only in Nevada, but and on a national and global level as well. Priscilla knows the significant impact high-quality early childhood education plays in life and works to eliminate the lack of access and utilization of services in Nevada, with extensive professional experience in Native American Communities. In addition to her work with the tribal CCDBG programs, Priscilla has expertise with family and community engagement. Priscilla received a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Digital Marketing. In 2019, she completed the Nevada Leadership for Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Fellowship and was selected as a Global Leader for Young Children, to represent the United States at the World Forum in Macau, China. Prior to joining CAA, Priscilla served as the Chair of the National Indian Child Care Association, the Vice-Chair of Nevada’s Indian Education Advisory Committee, a member of the Indigenous People’s Action Group, T.E.A.C.H Advisory Council, a Tribal Representative for Nevada’s Quality Rating Improvement System, Nevada’s Early Childhood Advisory Council and was most recently awarded the Young Alumni of the Year Award from the University of Nevada, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of degree in Community Health Science.

Kelly Bumgarner, PhD, MPH

Director of Health Policy

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Dr. Kelly Bumgarner has a background in Public Health and strongly believes accessible, high-quality healthcare is a critical children's issue. Before joining the Children's Advocacy Alliance, she served as the Wellness Coordinator for a Las Vegas nonprofit focused on sustainability and fair housing. Dr. Bumgarner holds a PhD and Master's of Public Health and a Master's of Science degree in Exercise Physiology. Her publications focus on health, wellness, and safety in underserved communities and populations. In addition to her nonprofit work, Dr. Bumgarner served as a college professor for over a decade.

Annette Dawson Owens

School Readiness Policy Director

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Annette Dawson Owens is a lifelong education advocate who believes in equity and access to an excellent education for all students. She has worked in both district and charter schools and has studied high performing schools and leaders across the country. She has seen first hand, quality outcomes that are possible with effective school design. Annette serves on many community and education advisory boards. Annette attended K-12 in the Clark County School District and went on to earn an undergraduate degree in Zoology, a Masters in Education from UNLV, and a Masters in Administration from Sierra Nevada College. She completed Georgetown's Executive Leadership through the Public Education Foundation and is grateful to be a current Jameson Fellow. In her free time she enjoys exploring the great outdoors. Annette looks forward to working together with the community and improving outcomes for all students and families in the great state of Nevada.

Dr. Sandra Owens

Economic Well Being Director

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Dr. Sandra Owens is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and she has university level teaching and research expertise in the areas of well-being, caregiving, cultural competency, advocacy, and integrated mental and behavioral health care with children, youth and adults. Dr. Owens’ has been awarded over $3,390,000.00 in grants and contracts, and she is committed to improving the economic well-being of children and families and communities. She has published scholarly journal articles, encyclopedia entries, book chapters, and newsletter articles on topics such as respite care for parents of special needs children in the foster care system, elder caregiving, the mental health conditions of children, adults and seniors, and the bio-psycho-social demographics of youth in the Clark County School District. During her 30+ year career Dr. Owens has taught and mentored hundreds of university students and practicing social workers at the local, state, national and international levels. Dr. Owens is committed to assisting non-profit agencies, such as the regional chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and the oldest Islamic place of worship in Las Vegas, Masjid As-Sabur, with meeting their organizational goals. Dr. Owens has served on the cabinet of UNLV President Neal Smatresk as his advisor, and she has served diligently as a leader in the Nevada Faculty Alliance, a statewide voluntary union and an affiliate of the American Association of University Professors.

Dr. Tara C. Raines

Kids Count Initiatives Director

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Dr. Tara C. Raines is a licensed psychologist with a history of research promoting equity and access in the areas of education and mental health. She has spent the last decade implementing and supporting a number of grants to improve outcomes for youth at highest risk for mental health disorders. She has partnered with large school districts including Clark County School District to do this work. Tara has been active in the Las Vegas My Brother's Keeper Alliance and sits on the Board of Directors for Democracy Preparatory Academy. She believes in the value of using data to identify and implement supports for Nevada's most vulnerable youth.

Ben Douglas

Director of Finance and Operations

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Ben Douglas joined Children’s Advocacy Alliance the summer of 2020. With over a decade of experience with non-profits as a board member, serving as President and Treasurer, Mr. Douglas has finally been able to give back by assisting CAA as their Director of Finance and Operations. Ben comes with a great deal of experience from for-profit business serving as the executive in charge of finance, operations and administration. Mr. Douglas has spent the last 15 years facilitating accounting and management classes at the university. Ben loves helping students obtain their dreams by obtaining their bachelors and/or masters degree. Mr. Douglas graduated with his MBA in 2003 and then obtained his Masters of Science in Accountancy in 2010. Ben’s main joy is his family, including his wife of 25 years, three boys, one daughter-in-law and grandson. He is excited to continue fighting for the children of Nevada and beyond.

Jeanette Belz

Government Affairs

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Incorporated in 2000, JK Belz & Associates provides a thoughtful tailored approach to governmental affairs. They have strong relationships with both sides of the legislative “aisle” to maximize opportunities for their clients. In support of this commitment, they work diligently to develop and nurture relationships with members of the legislature, both during legislative sessions as well as during the interim between sessions. Several areas of their advocacy work cross over into children’s issues. Ensuring children have access to education and a path to a career they love; ensuring access to mental health care and behavioral health services; supporting healthy outcomes for moms and babies; researching and exposing gaps in children’s health through dedicated reports on child welfare; supporting literacy efforts; and ensuring children are safely riding in cars with seatbelts and car seats. In 2019, JK Belz & Associates was successful in amending a bill to include a report on the number of children placed out of state for behavioral health services. This report has helped inform legislators on the need for residential placement and an expanded network of care in our state.

Sydney Banks

Government Affairs

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Incorporated in 2000, JK Belz & Associates provides a thoughtful tailored approach to governmental affairs. They have strong relationships with both sides of the legislative “aisle” to maximize opportunities for their clients. In support of this commitment, they work diligently to develop and nurture relationships with members of the legislature, both during legislative sessions as well as during the interim between sessions. Several areas of their advocacy work cross over into children’s issues. Ensuring children have access to education and a path to a career they love; ensuring access to mental health care and behavioral health services; supporting healthy outcomes for moms and babies; researching and exposing gaps in children’s health through dedicated reports on child welfare; supporting literacy efforts; and ensuring children are safely riding in cars with seatbelts and car seats. In 2019, JK Belz & Associates was successful in amending a bill to include a report on the number of children placed out of state for behavioral health services. This report has helped inform legislators on the need for residential placement and an expanded network of care in our state.

Valerie Padovani Balen

Government Affairs

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Incorporated in 2000, JK Belz & Associates provides a thoughtful tailored approach to governmental affairs. They have strong relationships with both sides of the legislative “aisle” to maximize opportunities for their clients. In support of this commitment, they work diligently to develop and nurture relationships with members of the legislature, both during legislative sessions as well as during the interim between sessions. Several areas of their advocacy work cross over into children’s issues. Ensuring children have access to education and a path to a career they love; ensuring access to mental health care and behavioral health services; supporting healthy outcomes for moms and babies; researching and exposing gaps in children’s health through dedicated reports on child welfare; supporting literacy efforts; and ensuring children are safely riding in cars with seatbelts and car seats. In 2019, JK Belz & Associates was successful in amending a bill to include a report on the number of children placed out of state for behavioral health services. This report has helped inform legislators on the need for residential placement and an expanded network of care in our state.

Lea Cartwright Case

Government Affairs

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Incorporated in 2000, JK Belz & Associates provides a thoughtful tailored approach to governmental affairs. They have strong relationships with both sides of the legislative “aisle” to maximize opportunities for their clients. In support of this commitment, they work diligently to develop and nurture relationships with members of the legislature, both during legislative sessions as well as during the interim between sessions. Several areas of their advocacy work cross over into children’s issues. Ensuring children have access to education and a path to a career they love; ensuring access to mental health care and behavioral health services; supporting healthy outcomes for moms and babies; researching and exposing gaps in children’s health through dedicated reports on child welfare; supporting literacy efforts; and ensuring children are safely riding in cars with seatbelts and car seats. In 2019, JK Belz & Associates was successful in amending a bill to include a report on the number of children placed out of state for behavioral health services. This report has helped inform legislators on the need for residential placement and an expanded network of care in our state.

Our Board Members

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.

Lynn Purdue

President / Chair

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Patricia Farley

Vice President / Vice Chair

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Fernando Serrano

Secretary / Treasurer

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Gard Jameson

Director

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Hilary Westrom

Director

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Dawn Gibbons

Director

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Justice Miriam Shearing

Director

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Virginia Valentine

Director

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Mary Bacon

Director

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Elaine Wenger-Roesener

Director

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Our Partners

In the news

Nevada NewsMakers 2019

December 5, 2019 By Nevada NewsMakers

Nevada Makes Progress Against Child Poverty

December 5, 2019 By Tricia Brooks

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

July 5, 2018 By Maggie Salas Crespo

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

July 5, 2018 By Katherine Davis-Young

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

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Las Vegas

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

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702.228.1869

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Reno

639 Isbell Rd #460
Reno, NV 89509

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775.440.1767