Caring for a child who is not your own requires a special kind of dedication. There are many children in Southern Nevada who are unable to remain in their homes, and families who open their homes and hearts to these children are committed to improving their lives and their futures. Foster Change is committed to those families.
Foster Change is the official Foster, Kinship and Adoptive Family Association of Southern Nevada. Foster Change also acts as an umbrella organization connecting the important work of these organizations to provide a unified voice for families and children. Our mission is the empowerment of all foster and adoptive families, through support that enables happy, healthy children to grow in happy, healthy environments.
Foster Change, a 501c3, was founded in 2016 by the directors of 501c3 organizations supporting support foster, adoptive, and kinship families in partnership with the Clark County Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI).
Today, in addition to founding organizations Foster Kinship and Foster Connect, we are proud to include the Las Vegas CASA, Raise the Future (Formerly The Adoption Exchange) and Fostering Hope as our board organizations.
Cindy Tarrant, Program Support Manager: Cindy and her family moved into Las Vegas in 2013. Soon after settling in, Cindy began seeking out connections into the local foster and adoptive community, in order to serve in a supportive role. Cindy’s family first became licensed to provide foster care in 2009. Since then, they have gone through the licensing process four times, in three different counties and in two different states, both in traditional foster care licensing and, also, kinship care licensing.
After experiencing a heartbreaking season of foster care in 2012, Cindy’s entire focus and passion were changed. During this time, their family was the only licensed foster home in their city and was left completely unsupported by both professionals and therapists but also by the absence of an experienced community to live life with. Cindy believes that if they had had access to the support and resources needed to provide successful care, then their experience would have been dramatically different and has since made it her mission to do whatever she can to step in and fill that gap for other families.
In 2015, Cindy found her place to provide support by joining forces with a local foster care ministry that was in the early stages of being formed. Since its creation, Cindy and her team of leadership, have grown the organization from serving less than ten families to serving over 200 foster and adoptive families. They have accomplished this by providing weekly support groups, a clothing resource center, small wrap-around support teams for each family when possible, a private 24/7 support network on social media and through seasonal family events. During the pandemic, Cindy found creative ways to serve these families by providing events the families could attend while honoring social distancing recommendations and also by working with local ministries and resources to provide a food and resource center that families could utilize when groceries and staples were so hard to find.
In 2021, Cindy’s passion to bring a spirit of positivity and of lifting others up inspired her to create a spotlight blog and social media presence called Foodies Who Foster. Foodies Who Foster’s mission is to highlight the hardworking professionals and volunteers across the valley who dedicate themselves to the hard work of foster care, kinship care, guardianship care, and adoption. Her hope is that by lifting others up and recognizing them publicly for their dedication and by working together with all of the different organizations, it will foster a spirit of all being in this together, working as one unified team, using our common passions and goals to provide superior care and resources and support to the families and children of Clark County.
In 2022, Cindy became the Program Manager for Foster Change and hopes to use all of her past personal and professional experience to bring a larger awareness and accessibility to the wonderful resources and support that is available and to create a feeling of family amongst the community of non-parental caregivers across Las Vegas.
Board of Directors
Ali Caliendo, PhD- President: Dr. Caliendo is a tireless advocate for children and families, focusing on kinship, foster and adoptive families. She launched, funded and currently serves as the Executive Director of Foster Kinship, a 501c3 non-profit organization devoted to the support of kinship families in the state of Nevada. Dr. Caliendo focuses her academic work on policy implications for children in nonparental care in the United States. She is also a former foster/current adoptive parent and advocate for children with FASD.
Megan Dobrinski- Treasurer (Foster Connect): Megan Dobrinski is a Las Vegas Foster Parent and Director of Foster Connect. She is the bookkeeper for YWAM and also runs Hannah’s Closet North.
Jessica Roe- Director (Raise the Future): Jessica has served as the Nevada Director of Programs at Raise the Future since 2018. Over her 11 years of service, she has worked as a Case Manager at a Higher Level of Care foster agency as well as a system-leader in evidence-based interventions, program development and implementation. Now, she is responsible for leading, and executing all aspects of Raise the Future’s program services in Nevada. She believes in bringing evidence-based programs to Nevada, adoptive families, and youth so they are able to thrive and reach their highest potential. She resides in Las Vegas with her husband and their two children.
Carly Souza- Secretary (Fostering Hope): Carly Souza was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. She worked in management and new hire training at a Fortune 100 company for seven years before embarking on the exciting adventure of being at stay at home mom. Carly and her husband, John, have been foster and adoptive parents since 2008. Together they have seven children, five of which they adopted through the foster care system. Carly is the Director of Fostering Hope which she founded in 2011 out of personal need to walk through life in relationship with other foster families. She also runs Hannah’s Closet South.
Vickie Wilson- Director (CASA): Vickie has experience in both the nonprofit and public sector in volunteer recruitment with great success in growing volunteer workforce capacities. As a Senior Volunteer Manager with American Red Cross, Senior Recruitment Specialist for Department of Family Services and now, as a Volunteer Coordinator with the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, Vickie has several years of experience designing growth strategies with measurable success.