Our mission is the empowerment of all foster, kinship, and adoptive families, through support that enables happy, healthy children to grow in happy, healthy environments.
There are many children in Nevada who are unable to remain in their homes and they all need a safe and nurturing adult to welcome them into their lives. The foster, kinship, and adoptive families who open their homes and hearts to these children are committed to doing whatever possible to help improve their lives and futures. As the official Foster, Kinship, and Adoptive Family Association of Nevada, we are committed to those families.
Foster Change serves the community in the following ways:
- Providing regularly scheduled meetings, inviting caregivers to join together and have their voice heard and elevated. These meetings are called Foster Change One Voice Town Hall meetings and are held virtually.
- Providing services to members through a helpline that is monitored by email, phone and social media, access to a free lending library and to ongoing support offered by our serving advisory board organizations, Foster Kinship, SAFY, Raise the Future, CASA Las Vegas, Fostering Hope, Foster Connect and Fostering Life.
- Supporting ALL families involved in the foster care system by acting as a neutral bridge between the Department of Family Services (DFS) and families to ensure healthy, bidirectional communication on behalf of children and families. Foster Change may also amplify community support for children in Foster Care by acting as a fiscal partner to DFS on specific events (e.g. Back to School; Holiday) and initiatives (funding basic need items) by accepting donations to ensure all children in foster care are served.
- Supporting ALL families involved in the foster care system by hosting a yearly Foster Change One Team One Dream networking meeting, which provides the opportunity to connect the professionals in all willing, local child serving agencies, organizations and ministries, with the governing belief that stronger partnerships will provide better outcomes for children experiencing care.
Foster Change, a 501c3, was founded in 2016 by directors of local 501c3 organizations who were already providing support to foster, kinship, and adoptive families to provide a unified voice in partnership with the Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) under DFS.
Board of Directors 2023-24
Cindy Tarrant, President
Cindy’s journey into foster care began back in 2009 when her family first became licensed to provide foster care. Over the years, they have navigated the licensing process multiple times, spanning three different counties and two different states. Their dedication to both traditional foster care and kinship care licensing showcases their unwavering commitment to helping vulnerable children find loving homes.
However, Cindy’s path took a profound turn in 2012 when they experienced a heartbreaking season of foster care, including a failed adoption. This challenging time brought to light the pressing need for a better-resourced and more supportive professional community for foster and adoptive families. The absence of a network of fellow foster and adoptive families to lean on further emphasized the importance of accessible support and resources.
Motivated by their own experiences, Cindy transformed her focus and passion. She became determined to fill the gaps in support that she had encountered and ensure that other families did not face similar challenges alone. This shift in purpose led her to actively seek opportunities to provide meaningful assistance and guidance to foster and adoptive families in her community. From February 2022 until July of 2023, Cindy served as the Program Manager for Foster Change, dedicating herself to creating positive change and support for foster families. Currently, she works as a Family Advocate at Foster Kinship, specializing in supporting families who have achieved permanency through guardianships or adoptions.
Jayne Rovianek, Vice President
Jayne’s career in Child Welfare spans an impressive 19 years in the state of California, where she has held various crucial roles such as Foster Parent Recruiter, Advocate, Supervisor, and Program Manager. Her tireless dedication to the welfare of children and families has been unwavering, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of many.
Even outside of her professional pursuits, Jayne’s commitment to making a difference continues through her ongoing volunteer work with notable nonprofits in California. She selflessly dedicates her time and expertise to organizations like Advokids and the North American Council for Adoptable Children (NACAC), further enriching the lives of children in need.
Jayne’s personal connection to the foster care system is equally remarkable. As a resident of San Jose, California, she became a licensed foster and adoptive parent, opening her heart and home to children in search of love and stability. When she later moved to Nevada, Jayne maintained her licensing status, both in traditional and kinship foster care, showcasing her enduring commitment to supporting vulnerable children.
Her forever family is a testament to her boundless love and devotion. Jayne takes immense pride in her bio/adopted children, whose ages range from 21 to 43 years old. Their journey as a family includes the joys of grandparenthood, with five grandchildren and even one great-grandchild.
Jessica Nuckoles, Secretary
Jessica’s roots run deep in Las Vegas, and she takes great pride in being a graduate of the Clark County School District (CCSD). With a passion for education, she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Education at UNLV and later achieved a Masters in Educational Leadership from NOVA Southeastern University. For over two decades, Jessica has dedicated her career to the field of education, driven by a profound desire to empower children to reach their full potential, both academically and socially.
In 2018, Jessica’s journey took a new and meaningful turn as she embarked on the path of foster parenting. Over the years, she has been blessed with the privilege of welcoming 17 children into her home, providing them with love, support, and a safe haven. Whether serving as placements or respite care, Jessica has been an unwavering source of stability for these young ones during challenging times.
Throughout her foster journey, Jessica has encountered various aspects of the foster care system. She has experienced the joy of reunifications, witnessed transitions to kinship care, supported children through transitions between foster families, and had the honor of being part of the adoption process. Each unique experience has deepened her commitment to advocate for the well-being and happiness of children in Southern Nevada who have been touched by the foster care system.
Alison Caliendo, Treasurer
Ali’s deep-rooted passion for at-risk populations and family systems issues has been a driving force in her life. In 2009, she made the significant move to Las Vegas, where she embarked on a career in mental health care, with a specific focus on providing support to children in foster care. During her work with foster families, Ali recognized the significant number of kinship caregivers and the pressing need for greater support for these dedicated individuals. Through thorough research, she uncovered the startling reality that a considerable number of children in Clark County were being raised by relatives, both formally and informally.
Determined to make a positive impact, Ali founded Foster Kinship, an organization aimed at addressing this critical gap in resources and providing essential peer-to-peer support for those tirelessly raising their relative’s children. By connecting children to their families while ensuring their safety and well-being, Foster Kinship serves as a vital lifeline for countless families in need.
In addition to her invaluable experience, Ali has an impressive academic background, holding a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from UNLV, a Master’s Degree in Organizational Systems Renewal (OSR) from Seattle University, and an HR Masters Certificate from Villanova University. She graduated with honors from the University of Chicago, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. Ali’s commitment to education and continuous learning underscores her dedication to making a difference in the lives of those she serves.
Notably, Ali is not only a professional advocate but also a foster and adoptive parent herself. Her firsthand experience as a former foster parent and current adoptive parent has further enriched her understanding of the challenges faced by children in the system, particularly those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Ben Douglas, Legislative & Administrative Policy Advocacy Chair
With over a decade of dedicated experience in the non-profit sector, Ben has served in various roles as a board member, passionately advocating for the well-being of children in Nevada. His unwavering commitment to this cause continues as he embarks on a new journey with Foster Change, where he is excited to make an even greater impact.
Currently, Mr. Douglas holds the position of Director of Finance and Operations at the Children’s Advocacy Alliance, further deepening his involvement in improving the lives of children and families. In addition to his work in the non-profit world, Ben has devoted the last 15 years to empowering and guiding students by facilitating accounting and management classes at the university level. He finds immense fulfillment in helping students achieve their dreams of obtaining bachelor’s and master’s degrees, thereby opening doors to brighter futures.
Ben’s own educational journey is equally impressive, having earned an MBA in 2003, followed by a Masters of Science in Accountancy in 2010. His dedication to learning and professional growth is a testament to his passion for making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. While Ben’s work and educational pursuits are vital aspects of his life, his main source of joy lies in his family. He cherishes his 25-year marriage and takes great pride in being a loving husband and father to three boys, one daughter-in-law, and a beloved grandson.
Caitlin Johnson, Marketing Chair
Caitlin is a seasoned marketing professional in the corporate sector, boasting over a decade of valuable experience in the industry. With a strong passion for non-profit work, she aims to utilize her marketing expertise to bring about positive change for Foster Change and our community of families.
Her dedication to the non-profit sector goes beyond just her involvement with Foster Change; she also serves as a board member for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. Over the years, Caitlin has generously contributed her time and expertise to various service projects and event planning initiatives aimed at positively impacting families in foster care.
Now, as Caitlin joins the board of directors at Foster Change, she seeks to amplify her impact and raise awareness about the pressing child welfare needs in Nevada. Her personal journey in child welfare advocacy began when she became a foster parent with SAFY, an experience that led her to adopt three wonderful children. Subsequently, she took on a role in SAFY’s marketing department, where she harnessed her skills to make even more significant contributions to improving child welfare in Clark County.
Despite her return to the corporate marketing sector, Caitlin’s dedication to child welfare in Nevada remains unwavering. She is determined to continue championing this vital cause and making a meaningful difference in the lives of children and families.
Deena Lakes, Fundraising & Events Chair
Deena’s journey began in her hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, where she was born and raised. Having experienced the foster care system firsthand and aging out of it, she faced the challenges of entering adulthood as a homeless college student with limited resources. This personal struggle ignited a fierce determination within her to raise awareness and become a dedicated advocate for foster youth.
Deena and her husband became foster parents themselves, providing a loving home for vulnerable children while witnessing the system from a contrasting perspective. In less than two years, over 10 children found refuge in their home, offering them stability and care during uncertain times.
Throughout her foster parenting journey, Deena recognized the importance of utilizing available resources to support both herself and the children in her care. Organizations like Foster Change became invaluable allies in her mission to provide the best possible care for the children. Furthermore, she actively volunteers with various organizations to witness firsthand the crucial role they played in enhancing the lives of foster youth.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought unforeseen challenges, leading Deena to make the difficult decision to close her foster license as she devoted herself to working as an emergency room nurse. Nevertheless, her commitment to foster care remains unwavering. She continues to stay involved by volunteering for events in our community, determined to be a voice for foster youth and now hopes to do so by serving through the Foster Change board.
Mallory Cyr, Member Representative Chair
Mallory, a Las Vegas native, finds joy in raising her son in the stunning desert landscape of her hometown. Currently, she serves as the Contracts Manager for the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada, relishing the opportunity to work in the public sector and contribute to creating positive change in the community.
In 2017, after spending three years living abroad and feeling the call to make a difference, Mallory took a significant step and became a licensed foster parent. Her decision to open her heart and home to foster children reflects her compassionate nature and willingness to make a meaningful impact on young lives.
Beyond her professional and foster parenting endeavors, Mallory leads an active lifestyle, playing pickleball and exploring new places whenever possible. Additionally, Mallory actively volunteers with Get Outdoors Nevada, a passion-driven initiative that perfectly aligns with her appreciation for the great outdoors and her deep desire to give back to the community that has nurtured her throughout her life.
Moleen Brown, Member Representative Chair
In 2012, Moleen and her wife made the life-changing decision to relocate from California to Nevada, accompanied by their two-year-old granddaughter. Starting anew in a different state with a young toddler and only temporary notarized documents from California presented significant challenges, especially since Nevada required guardianship to be established within Clark County. However, Moleen says fate intervened when she had the good fortune of meeting Dr. Ali Caliendo, whose hands-on approach and assistance proved invaluable. Thanks to her support, Moleen was able to obtain guardianship of her granddaughter and, eventually, adopt her grandson, as well.
With a background in health and education, Moleen has always held a deep love and passion for non-profit work. Over the years, she has volunteered and served with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the American Red Cross.
Moleen is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in social work and public service. It is with enthusiasm and gratitude that she embraces the opportunity to join the Board of Directors, as it aligns perfectly with her dedication to service and her desire to bring positive change to the lives of those in need.
David Johnson, Member at Large
Dave, a Las Vegas native, has deep roots in the community that raised him. Recently, his family made a significant decision to open their hearts and home to foster children, a choice partly influenced by his own transformative experiences as a youth resident and peer counselor at a local homeless shelter. Through this powerful involvement, he gained a unique perspective on the challenges faced by children in the community and developed a profound admiration for those who step up as supportive figures for our young ones. Dave firmly believes that a genuine partnership with the Department of Family Services (DFS), founded on shared QPI (Quality Parenting Initiative) values, will require dedication, but he knows that our community’s children deserve unwavering support and better outcomes.
During weekdays, Dave works as a professional in the construction industry, where he plays a vital role in organizing the installation of steel reinforcing bars—essentially the structural backbone of various mega projects across the city. He takes immense pride in contributing to the continuous development and enhancement of Las Vegas, making it even more fabulous.
Jokingly, Dave attributes most of his hair loss to the monumental projects he’s been involved in, playfully mentioning the MSG Sphere, Fontainebleau, Kirk Kerkorian Medical School, and the substantial expansion of the Clark County Water Reclamation District as possible culprits.
The National Foster Parent Association, whose mission is to be a respected national voice for Foster, Kinship and Adoptive Parents through networking, education and advocacy, can be visited at https://nfpaonline.org.