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Ali Caliendo, PhD 2023

Ali Caliendo, PhD 

Founder & Executive Director

Dr. Caliendo has long been passionate about at-risk populations and family systems issues and opportunities. In 2009 Alison moved to Las Vegas, Nevada and began working in mental health care for children in foster care. While working with the foster families, she discovered the high number of kinship caregivers and their need for increased support. Upon further research, she realized that an astonishing number of children in Clark County were being raised by relatives, both formally and informally. She founded Foster Kinship to provide much-needed resources and peer-to-peer support for the dedicated individuals working tirelessly to raise their relative’s children, keeping these children both connected to family and safe from harm.

Ali holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs from UNLV where she focused her research on how state child welfare policy contributes to the formation of kinship families. She received her Master’s Degree in Organizational Systems Renewal (OSR) from Seattle University, where she specialized in family systems and systemic trauma and healing, organizational consulting and group facilitation. She holds an HR Masters Certificate from Villanova University. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago. Alison is a certified TIPS-MAPP instructor, Nationally Certified Chid Passenger Safety Technician, and has completed a certificate in Grandfamilies Leadership. She also on the board of the National Kinship Alliance. She can be reached at
Leah Dods, MSW Child Welfare Program Manager Formal Kinship Family Advocate

Leah Dods, MSW

Director of Programs

Leah has been with Foster Kinship since 2016. Starting as an intern, she fell in love with the mission of Foster Kinship because it aligned with her life story. Leah was born when her mother was 15 years old. Her mother, still a child herself, relied on her parents to help raise Leah and for the first few years Leah lived in her grandparents home while her mom was supported into a self-sufficient adult. When Leah was a teen, her mother became a kinship caregiver and took in Leah's cousin. Leah's lived experience comes from a young child in a grandparent headed household and as a biological child in home that took in relatives.

Leah Dods has a Masters in Social Work and a Bachelor's degree in Human Services with a focus in children and families. She has professional experience in child welfare, hospice care and substance abuse treatment. Leah is a certified First Aid/CPR/AED instructor and has completed a certificate in Grandfamilies Leadership. 

Leah directs all of Foster Kinship's family programming. She can be reached at

Sandy Vargas, BS

Director of Program Support

Sandy has been a lifelong advocate, instilled in her from the time she could speak English fluently. Sandy has a passion for social justice and providing support for the most vulnerable. Sandy is no stranger to kinship; her parents took care of her cousin during her adolescent years and to this day Sandy considers her as close as a sister. She has been a fictive kin caregiver and she personally understands the legal and financial facing informal kinship families. 

Since 2016, Sandy has been providing bilingual case management services to Spanish speaking kinship families. Her passion to help Spanish kinship families stems from growing up advocating for her family from a young age.

Sandy obtained her Bachelors in Sociology with an emphasis on Social Work from Grand Canyon University, has over 20 years of experience in customer service, and is a notary public, nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, CPR/First Aid/AED instructor. Sandy has completed a certificate in Grandfamilies Leadership. 

Sandy provides program, administrative and financial support for the entire organization. Sandy can be reached at

Cheryl Frias, BS, HRM

Human Resources

Cheryl, a dedicated professional with a heart that resonates with the sandy shores of Hawaii, has called Las Vegas home for quite some time. With a profound love for the beach, she's brought that warmth and positivity into her career.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specializing in Human Resource Management, Cheryl embodies integrity in every facet of her life. For her, integrity is not just a word but a guiding principle she never compromises on. Her commitment to all things ethical has shaped her journey.

Her true passion lies in cultivating workplaces where positivity thrives. Cheryl firmly believes in the power of a supportive and motivating work culture. She's not just a spectator of this vision; she's an active catalyst for change. Her efforts to foster a positive environment have found a perfect home at Foster Kinship, where she proudly contributes her skills and determination to help fulfill their meaningful mission.

Cheryl's dedication to ethics, her commitment to fostering a positive work culture, and her involvement with Foster Kinship all come together to paint the picture of a remarkable individual who's not just making a living, but making a difference.

Cheryl can be reached at

Paula Ramirez, LMSW, CADC

Family Advocate Supervisor

Paula began her journey with Foster Kinship in 2021 as an intern and then became an official member of the team in 2022. Paula holds a Master’s degree in Social Work as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in counseling. She is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor in Nevada and previously worked in the addictions treatment field for five years. Paula is also a notary public and has completed a certificate in Grandfamilies Leadership.

As a Family Advocate Supervisor, Paula is passionate about empowering families with support and resources to accomplish their personal goals. Being raised by two immigrant parents with no immediate family nearby, Paula understands how important it is to lean in on the family connections you do have and build family-like relationships to create a community of support.

She specializes in working with kinship families who are a preventative resource for children who come to the attention of the child welfare system in Clark County, NV, as well as for private kinship families. She can be reached at

Monica Avila, BSW, TBRI Practitioner

Child and Youth Interventions Program Manager

Monica is a Las Vegas native. She has always wanted to work with children so in high school she attended East Tech Academy to focus on early childhood education. Through East Tech Academy, she received internship opportunities which led to many experiences within childcare centers both in-home and center based. 

Monica graduated from College of Southern Nevada with her Associates of Arts in 2020 and graduated with her BSW from UNLV's School of Social Work in 2022. She is a TBRI practitioner and uses a trauma-informed, trust-based lens in all the programs she designs and implements. 

Monica brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our programs. At Foster Kinship she works with both children and caregivers to run the Child and Youth Program. She can be reached at

Sasha Ritchie, LMSW

Kinship Training Institute Program Manager

Sasha started at Foster Kinship as an intern in 2017. She has her Bachelor's in Human Services with a focus on Child and Family Therapy and her Master's in Social Work specializing in clinical social work. She is passionate about helping children and families who seek support and resources. Her background consists of working in education, healthcare, and adoption recruitment.

During a tough period, Sasha's aunt needed assistance caring for her two children. Sasha's mother never hesitated to care for her sister's children and traveled to their city to ensure that the children were safe, cared for, and remained in a familiar environment. She took care of them for two years. Sasha still considers them her two siblings rather than ‘ just cousins’. She enjoys reading, improving her cooking skills, and getting lost in music. 

Sasha manages the Kinship Training Institute for the kinship navigator program including the child welfare training program, TBRI programming, and ongoing, enhanced caregiver emotional supports.  Sasha can be reached at

Kaya Calinsky

Program Specialist Supervisor

Born in California, Kaya graduated high school in Las Vegas. Kaya has a half brother who was unable to live with his parents and her mother raised him for a number of years.

Kaya has a passion for working with children, has experience working with kids from all walks of life, and loves connecting with the families that come into Foster Kinship, ensuring they are matched with resources as quickly as possible. 

As the Program Specialist Supervisor, Kaya demonstrates her expertise in all aspects of Foster Kinship programs. She manages the helpline program and front desk to direct kinship families to the appropriate resources within Foster Kinship. She also  provides data support for the program leadership team. She can be reached at
Nani Garrett, BSHS Kinship Navigator Program Manager Private Kinship Family Advocate

Nani Leffall, MS, CPC-Intern

Family Advocate Supervisor

Nani Garrett holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Human Services with a concentration is management and completed a Masters Degree in Professional Counseling. She completed her internships with the Department of Family Services and the Parenting Project. 

She joined Foster Kinship in 2015 and is passionate about helping children and families in the community to connect with the necessary resources that will better their situation. Nani is also a notary public and has completed a certificate in Grandfamilies Leadership. 

Nani manages the in-home kinship navigator program for formal kinship families in Clark County, NV.  She can be reached at

Rose Eshe, MFS

Northern Nevada Program Manager

Rose is a Nevada transplant from California. She was a social worker who worked in Family Reunification/Family Maintenance and was a Recruitment and Support for Foster Caregivers worker. Rose helped launch the Birth Parent/Foster Parent Partnership in Sonoma County alongside a birth parent and foster parent. Her mother had her at a young age and her grandmother helped raise her. Her mother is currently a kinship caregiver. Kinship is very important to her as she believes children should be cared for by family when it's safe to do so.

Rose works out of Foster Kinship's Reno office and manages the Northern Nevada Program including case management, training, and support. She enjoys exploring Nevada with her husband and three dogs. She can be reached at

Marcie O'Donnell, MA

Donation Center Program Manager

Martha O’Donnell holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Wheaton College Conservatory with a piano performance concentration and voice minor, and a Master’s degree from Illinois Northern University in choral conducting. She spent the first five months of her life in foster care, was raised in an adoptive home, and has strong passion and commitment to Foster Kinship’s mission of helping individuals raise their relative’s children, to help keep home in the family. 

A dedicated volunteer, Marcie wrote grants for Foster Kinship.  Her commitment to the organization lead to the establishment of the Marcie O'Donnell Excellence Award in 2017, which is given to a staff member annually who exhibits an equal commitment to families. 

In 2022 she started "Marcie's Heart", the Foster Kinship Donation Center, She can be reached at

Berenice Blas Child Welfare Trainier

Berenice Blas

Family Advocate

Berenice was born in Mexico and moved to Los Angeles at age 9. Berenice and her wife moved to Las Vegas in 2008 hoping to one day be a foster family. Their foster license was approved in 2011 and in 2012 Berenice became a DACA recipient. Berenice and her family were foster parents for five years, supporting birth parents and helping them reunify with their children. Her family also helped children transition into kinship homes and adoptive placements. In March 2016 they became forever parents to one amazing, smart, and handsome boy and in September 2016 he became a big brother.

Berenice's passion for kinship caregivers comes from working with the DFS Foster Parent Champion Program where she advocated for foster and kinship families, providing resources and support during their open cases. In 2018 she became a part of the Foster Kinship family as a facilitator of the child welfare training for kinship families becoming licensed. Berenice has experience as a Clark County Social Services- Keeping Families Together program to help birth parents secure housing and become self-sufficient in order to reunify with their children. Berenice is very passionate about children and families and loves supporting families through the roller coaster journey of kinship and foster care. She can be reached at

Jen Walsh, MSW

Family Advocate

Jen holds a Bachelor’s from Nevada State College in Psychology with minors in Criminal Justice and Counseling and is completed her Masters in Social Work at UNR.

Growing up, Jen watched as her maternal grandparents took in one of her cousins when her aunt passed away and the father could not take care of them. She watched as her grandparents struggled due to not having any resources to help them out during the unexpected and traumatic time. She glad to be able to see and work with an agency that is out there to help kinship families.

Jen first started with Foster Kinship as an intern in 2020 and officially joined the team in 2021. During her internship at Foster Kinship, Jen was able to experience the amazing work that Foster Kinship does in working with the families and helping assess them with getting the resources they need. Jen has found working with the families awarding and worthwhile that she came back to Foster Kinship to continue her experience as a full time Family Advocate specializing in connecting new caregivers of children in foster care to critical resources. She can be reached at

Cindy Tarrant

Family Advocate

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 and a failed adoption in 2012, Cindy’s entire focus and passion were changed. During this time, their family was negatively affected by an under-resourced professional community and also by the absence of other foster and adoptive families to journey with. Cindy believes that if they been provided with access to the support and resources needed, 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. She can be reached at

Alisha McIntosh

Family Advocate

Alisha was born and raised in Long Beach, California, and entered the foster care system before being adopted in 2002. For her adoption day, her parents took her to Disneyland and thus began her passion for all things Disney, including working there and meeting her future husband.

In 2014 they moved to Las Vegas and became licensed foster parents with DFS in 2016. That same year they used the services with Foster Kinship to complete guardianship of Alisha’s biological half-sister. In 2019 they adopted four siblings from foster care and took them all to Disneyland to celebrate!

Alisha has used her lived experiences with foster care, guardianship, and the adoption process to help others navigate their journey in child welfare. She is organized, optimistic, and openhearted and looks forward to working alongside others, especially with families who have achieved legal permanency through guardianship or adoption and are looking for ongoing support.

As a Family Advocate, Alisha is excited about supporting safe and healthy families and wants caregivers to know she can relate and understands and wants to hear from you. She can be reached at

Chiana Washington

Family Advocate

Chiana grew up in Gardena, CA. She was raised by her maternal grandmother, who also served as a foster parent for Native American children. After spending years in kinship care, Chiana's biological mother eventually regained full custody of her and her two sisters. Despite her mother's post-reunification struggles, she remained committed to a mission of gratitude towards Chiana's grandmother, an inspiration that ignited Chiana's desire to be a part of positive change.

In 2022, Chiana and her husband, along with their two sons, relocated to Las Vegas, NV, seeking a fresh start. With over a decade of experience, Chiana has consistently advocated for change within communities. Her focus has been on giving voice to families who often find themselves unheard. Drawing from her own upbringing filled with challenges, she places immense value on assisting families in obtaining resources and establishing strong foundations to improve the prospects of future generations. Chiana's firsthand understanding of the difficulties her grandmother faced while selflessly raising numerous children further fuels her dedication to this cause.

Passionate about her work, Chiana's aim is to inspire caregivers with the understanding that they are not alone. She believes that the journey becomes less daunting when a supportive community rallies behind a shared goal. Chiana's unwavering commitment lies in advocating for families, empowering individuals to exercise their rights, and offering assistance in voicing concerns, accessing information, resolving issues, and providing various forms of support.

Janette Rodriguez, BA

Family Advocate

Janette was born in Los Angeles, California. Janette holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a minor in Counseling with an emphasis in addiction treatment and prevention. She has always believed there is immense power when a group of people with similar interests get together to work towards the same goal. Joining Foster Kinship, Janette is determined to provide caregivers options, valued information, and resources to advocate for their children so they can choose what is best for their family.

Janette takes pride in being an advocate warrior for our community and loves bridging the gap in our Latino Community. She believes our community's strength is the diversity of its families. You can reach Janette via email at

MariaAgnes Jones, BA

Family Advocate

Maria was born and raised in San Francisco, Ca. spending her first few years in the Richmond District. As a teen she and her family migrated to the biggest little city in the world, and in August of 2014 Maria came to Las Vegas, NV with her 3 children for a better opportunity.

She has 15 years of experience managing an office along with other tasks that fall in line of Human Resources. She is very resourceful and has the unique ability to make companies run more efficiently and smoothly. She is extremely creative and artistic. She believes in the power of positive thinking and keeping positive energy around you.

Being a family advocate means so much to Maria, as she is able to help shed light at the end of the tunnel our kinship families find hard to see as they learn to deal with the cards they have been dealt.

Maria also has a strong passion for helping guide and educate parents who are currently in a position she was once in. Being able to overcome her past battles, she is inspired to become a resource for both parent(s) and kinship caregivers. Although every story is different in its own way, she wants to be of service to alleviate fear and enhance transparency throughout their journey. She is ready to embark on this endeavor to see more kinship stories end with successful family reunification.

You can reach Maria via email at

Katelynn Martinez, BSW

Family Advocate

Katelynn is a Las Vegas native. She graduated from UNLV in 2022 with a Bachelor's degree in Social work and a minor in Criminal Justice. She has received internships that have shaped her as a social worker now. Katelynn plans on receiving her Masters in Social Work with an emphasis in Childhood Trauma in the future.

Katelynn has always had an interest in working with children and is passionate about providing the necessary resources for families to be successful. Growing up with immigrant parents, Katelynn has also seen how hard it is for immigrant families to receive the same opportunities as others. Katelynn has worked hard to advocate for more Spanish resources for families by presenting services in Spanish in her past areas of work.

As a Family Advocate, Katelynn is excited to provide kinship families with the appropriate resources they need to help support their children. She understands how hard it can be to be a kinship caregiver, so she provides patience and support for families to feel that they aren’t alone. She can be reached at

Christine Smedes

Family Advocate Specialist Technician

Christine recently traveled to Las Vegas after spending all of her life in her birthplace, Arizona. She has worked with children in various capacities over the past 25 years, ranging from offering in-the-home child care, to being a teacher's aide in Elementary and High schools, and finally, being a nanny for the past 15 years. Christine understands the emotional impact of being taken away from family, sibling separation, and the rippling effects it has on one's life; from both perspectives.

Christine was born to two teen parents, who later came to have 3 more children, but unfortunately at their young age, they were unable to care for Christine and her siblings. Since most of her childhood was spent with her grandparents, they decided to take her in and raise her. Her siblings were all split up into different family members' homes, but later got split into different foster homes. She was able to see her siblings for the first time at the age of 30.

Christine has a strong passion to help keep family together, her heart is fully here! She can be reached at
Emily Morales Kinship Navigator Intake Coordinator

Emily Morales

Family Advocate

A native of Las Vegas, Emily holds an Associates Degree from the College of Southern Nevada. As a young widow and single mother of five beautiful, unique children, Emily is very passionate when it comes to helping families surviving and thriving through the process of grief. She lost her husband too early in 2016 and continues to navigate through life's challenges with her children. Her professional background is in Human Resources and Office Management. Emily has a gift of seeking resources within our community and loves to self-care with scrapbooking and crafts. She can be reached at

Michelle Rupe, BS, TBRI Practitioner

Family Advocate

Michelle Rupe is a passionate child welfare professional who has been advocating for foster youth since she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 2012. Michelle moved from Colorado in December of 2019 to be closer to her family who also live in Las Vegas.

She earned the title of a TBRI Practitioner in November of 2020 from the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development through Texas Christian University. Since this time, she is very passionate about TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) and believes that this is the change that is needed in the child welfare system as well as other systems in our communities.

Michelle works with families at the Kinship Training Institute and in the Child and Youth Program. She manages support groups and nurture groups to better connect caregivers with their children. She also looks forward to helping families better understand trauma and how this affects brain development. She can be reached at

Audrey Tarrant

Family Advocate Specialist

Born in Texas, Audrey and her family moved to Las Vegas when she was 11 years old. Her parents had been licensed foster parents since 2007, and by this time had adopted a baby boy. After moving, they made the decision to reopen their license in Nevada, and have since adopted two more children. After being exposed to the realm of foster care from such a young age, she matured into a young woman who is passionate about child welfare and improving the lives of vulnerable children.

Working as a Family Advocate, she is able to support families in assessing what resources they have access to, and how we can support them in attaining services. As a Certified Car Seat Technician, Audrey is also able to provide car seat safety training to caregivers with young children. In her future aspirations, Audrey hopes to continue to support children and families in any way she can.

Natalie Marquez, BS

Enhanced Program Support Specialist

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Natalie studied at UNLV, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services in 2023. Throughout her educational career, she has taken part in various volunteer work and internships, providing vital services to those in need within the community. Natalie's personal values, education, and community involvement have led her to develop a strong commitment to offering support and resources to the underserved in our society.

Natalie's journey with Foster Kinship began when she interned in 2023. During her internship, she gained valuable insight into the hardships and challenges that kinship families face. As a result of witnessing Foster Kinship's dedication firsthand in helping these families overcome barriers, she joined the team as an Enhanced Program Support Specialist for the Kinship Training Institute. She can be reached at

Aine Monaghan

Childcare Specialist

Born in Colorado, Aine graduated high school in Las Vegas. Her family began fostering three kids in 2018 and later adopted them in 2019. They went on to foster and adopt a 6-year-old boy in 2021. Currently, Aine’s family is still a foster resource.

She is passionate about children and youth and is working towards going to college to further her education. Aine has years of experience working with and babysitting children, as she volunteered with Canyon Ridge Christian Church’s childcare program and helped her parents care for her younger siblings.

Aine is a huge advocate for youths’ mental health and pushes to empower children while they navigate their lives. Aine can be reached at

Jaquie Chagolla

Childcare Specialist

Born in California, Jaquie graduated high school in Las Vegas in 2021. Jaquie’s child care experience begins with helping take care of her younger cousins and brother while their parents were working.

Jaquie has always had an interest in working with kids. She loves interacting and playing with children. Child care has always been a passion of hers. She brings her vibrant and energetic personality into the classroom to form healthy connections with kiddos in kinship care.

Jaquie started her Journey with Foster Kinship early in 2022. She has shown an enormous amount of growth since then by supporting Riley & Friends Nurture Group & Kinship Kids Support group. Jaquie is excited to grow with Foster Kinship and our Child Care Program. Jaquie can be reached at

Michelle Flores

Childcare Specialist

Michelle Flores is the oldest of three, and moved to Las Vegas with her own family in 2013. She has been caring for kids for many years, in different environments from daycare center's to the child's home. The importance of early childhood education is a driving factor of her passion to work with young kids, since it is the most crucial part of development. 

Her favorite part of working with kids is seeing the excitement and surprise as they learn a new skill that they can use. 

Michelle is currently working towards completion of an Associate's Degree at College of Southern Nevada, and plans to complete a Bachelor's degree. Michelle wants to continue working with young children to help build the foundation for a better future. She can be reached at

Andrea Perez, AA

Childcare Specialist

Born and raised in Las Vegas NV, Andrea graduated high school in 2019, has an Associate of Arts in Psychology, and is currently working on her Bachelor's degree. Andrea's interest in working with children begins in her early days of babysitting her cousins and neighborhood kids. Andrea hopes to become a source of comfort for any children she works with. Andrea brings new experiences to her workplace and is eager to learn. She can be reached at

Stacey Galka

Program Support Specialist 

I'm a parent, bio grandma, foster parent and now, after 1,734 days in care, I'm an adoptive mom to my little one. DFS referred me to Foster Kinship when my little one entered care. I reached out for help and found my support system.

When my journey started, it was scary to take the first step and contact Foster Kinship because it was all brand new and it was a lot of information. It was a big leap. Once I did, the process moved with a much better flow, moving gradually and smoothly to completion. Foster Kinship gave me direction with each step and made it a lot easier to follow the process. Making the initial contact was the hardest part, but once I did, things got a lot better.

I did the licensing classes, CPR, car seat, parenting techniques, and support groups with Foster Kinship as a client. I was trying to raise my grandchild while also supporting my daughter with her needs, which required a lot of work. This journey took time, and it required a lot of therapy and support, but now my older daughter and I have a great relationship. I had to have a lot of compassion and empathy through the entire journey. I want to give families hope that things can get better with birth parents. I want to show families that together, with the parents, we can work things out for our kiddos.

I've lived coast to coast, but home is Denver, Colorado. We moved here to Vegas in 2015. I've worn many different hats throughout the years, but helping others was always a part of my life. I went to college for communications and single parenthood gave me a different direction, so then I turned to social work where I found my calling of being able to support and uplift others. The biggest thing for me is to be able to tell families that I’ve been here and done that, and now I’m here to support kinship families through their journey.

Matthew McCave

Executive Assistant- Leadership Team

Matthew was raised just outside of Detroit Michigan. In his childhood he was heavily involved with the local Boys & Girls Club and spent a lot of his young adult time working and volunteering with various organizations that offered activities for at risk youth. This time spent helped to foster a love of giving back and a passion for youth issues.

Matthew supports the Foster Kinship leadership team and brings with him a passion for helping kinship families in the Nevada and beyond. He can be reached at and can also assist in setting up meetings with the Executive Director. 
Nancy Myster Foster Kinship Board of Directors

Nancy Myster, MEd

Board of Directors- President

Nancy Myster is a teacher at Alexander Dawson School in Las Vegas. Formerly she worked at Clark County School District and has a long history of working with and advocating for children. Nancy earned a Bachelors of Arts from Western Washington University in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

When she first came to Nevada after college she began working at Child Haven which made her passionate about learning more about and advocating for Nevada’s most vulnerable children. Nancy served 10+ rewarding years as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) advocating for youth in family court. After which, she spent over 6 years on the CASA Foundation board, three of which she served as President: instrumental in building community relationships and awareness, volunteer recruitment, as well as coordinating events for children in foster care. During her work with foster children, she began to understand the complexity of family systems and the great importance of maintaining and supporting family and kinship connections for youth. In her free-time, she enjoys being with her daughter Grace and her dog Murphy.
Jordan Castro Foster Kinship Board of Directors

Jordan Castro, MS, CPA

Board of Directors- Treasurer

Jordan is a CPA with PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 2015 he obtained his BSBA in Accounting, and in 2016 he obtained his Master of Science in Accounting. While working at PwC, Jordan has serviced a variety of clients, including governmental and not-for-profit entities. He obtained his CPA license with the Nevada State Board of Accountancy in September of 2018.
Dr. Katherine Unthank

Dr. Katherine Unthank,

Board of Directors- Secretary

Dr. Katherine (Kitty) Unthank is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Nevada and Colorado and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Indiana. She has served the University of Phoenix for over 10 years, most recently as Chair of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Las Vegas Campus. She is a Past-President and current Executive Director of the Nevada Counseling Association. 

She served on the Nevada State Board of Examiners for Marriage & Family Therapists and Clinical Professional Counselors from 2009-2014. She is also in private-practice. She earned her PhD from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (new Sofia University) in Palo Alto, CA. Her dissertation received recognition from the American Psychological Association (APA) as runner-up for the Sidney M. Jourard research award and from the Center for the Sacred Feminine, with a Scholarship Merit Award. She was invited to present her work at three national conferences.

She is the author of Riding Wild Horses Home, which was nominated for Non-Fiction Book of the Year by the American Library Association. Dr. Unthank has worked in the Mental Health field since completing her Masters in Counseling and Counselor Education from Indiana University - Bloomington in 1986. 
Kechia English Foster Kinship Board of Directors

Kechia English, MA

Board of Directors

Kechia English is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who is in private practice and does contract therapy work here in southern Nevada. She is a retired Child Welfare Manager with over 30 years working with children and families at the Department of Family Services. During her time in child welfare Kechia served as a coach and mentor to line and supervisory staff; worked in the areas of Child Protective Services, Foster Care, In Home Case Management, Clinical Services and Team Decision Making; and was a supporter of staff development and appreciation. As a believer in education, Kechia teaches in the College of Humanities and Sciences for the University of Phoenix. As a Board Member for Foster Kinship, Kechia looks forward to bringing her child welfare experience to the table in an effort to continue making a positive difference in the lives of children and families. Kechia is a member of AAMFT and is a lifelong family advocate.

Patricia Farley

Board of Directors

Joe DiRaffaele

Board of Directors

Bob Ruble Board of Directors

Bob Ruble

Board of Directors

Bob has been a relative caregiver for his niece since she was 7 years old. Now that she is an adult, Bob uses his experience to help other kinship families navigate the difficult waters of kinship care. He is the President of the National Kinship Alliance for Children, on the board of the National Foster Parent Association, and is a Generations United GRAND member. He also founded and runs OC Kinship, a caregiver support organization in Orange County, CA.
Dan Maier

Daniel Maier

Board of Directors

Dan is a former kinship foster parent and now a legal guardian. He is a Roman Catholic deacon with the Diocese of Las Vegas. He dedicates his time to Nevadans for the Common Good and is a board member of its affiliate, NCG Coalition for Public Life. Dan is also an active Realtor in Sothern Nevada. He has a wife, Carol, four children and seven grandchildren.

In 2018, Dan retired from a career in executive management, primarily in benefits management and then later as an executive at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada.

In his career, he was known to be a strong leader with a driving belief in collaboration within the management team and among all organization associates. He is to this day highly motivated to establish and achieve organizational goals with a passion for service and a drive for continual improvement. He was respected by all associates, earning trust and credibility by dealing honestly and ethically, and by following through on commitments to clients, co-workers, organization leadership and external collaborative enterprises and is still called upon for guidance in challenging situations.

Dan is optimistic, with a positive attitude in adverse situations, demonstrating flexibility, creativity, imagination and resilience when faced with multiple demands, shifting priorities, ambiguity and rapid change.

Michelle McGuire Foster Kinship Board of Directors

Michelle McGuire, PhD

Board of Directors

Dr. Michelle McGuire is a Nevada Licensed Psychologist. She has a diverse background working with a number of different populations, including developmental and intellectual disabilities, serious mental illness, and chemical dependency, and providing individual, group, couples and family therapy to children through the elderly. She is the Clinical Director of Creative Behavioral Connections providing neuropsychological testing and oversight of treatment services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She teaches for the University of Phoenix in the Master’s in Counseling Program and is the Lead Faculty Area Chair for the Psychology program.
Terry and Ali Caliendo Foster Kinship Board of Directors

Terry Caliendo, BS

Key Volunteer

Terry Caliendo graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He has been an internet entrepreneur for over 10 years, specializing in internet presence management as the owner and president of Dedicated Managers

Caring deeply about Southern Nevada's issues, especially when it comes to the lack of support and resources for children and their guardians who are providing kinship care, Terry wanted to help give back to the community and subsequently helped his wife form the charity, Foster Kinship, which addresses those needs. Terry is Foster Kinship's volunteer IT specialist. Terry can be reached at
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