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Board of Directors

  Carla Bennett:
Carla Bennett is COCAF’s legislative expert. She carefully follows adoption and child welfare legislation at the state capitol and lobbies on COCAF’s behalf when appropriate. Since 1994, Carla has been a volunteer lobbyist for the League of Women Voters of Colorado, following children’s issues, primarily child welfare, including adoption and juvenile justice areas. In 2008, Carla was awarded the Minoru Yasui Volunteer Award for her work with Adoption Options, the League, and her work as a volunteer for the Nurturing Parent Program at Aurora Mental Health Center.

Carla has two biological daughters, two adoptive sons, and grandchildren. In addition, she provides cradle care to infants and toddlers awaiting adoption for Adoption Options. She has cared for 80 cradle children over the past 26 years. Carla and her husband, COCAF Board President Frank Bennett, adopted their two sons through the child welfare system, giving them a great deal of experience with the Colorado foster-adopt system. They have also had experience with private adoptions through their work as cradle parents for Adoption Options.

Frank Bennett:
Frank Bennett’s is one of COCAF’s Arapahoe County representatives. Frank is a clinical psychologist with 35 years of experience in working with children with a wide range of mental health challenges. Frank is very active at the state level in committees looking at mental health and adoption issues. Frank has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto, a Master of Science from Colombia University, and a PhD in Philosophy from Colombia University.
Frank is married and has four children, two adopted from the child welfare system. Frank’s personal and professional experiences have provided him with a strong background in the mental health services, methods for accessing them, and avenues of appeal when services are denied.
  Deborah Cave (Executive Director):
Deborah is COCAF’s Boulder County representative. Deborah served as the president of COCAF for almost 10 years before becoming the Executive Director. Deborah is also on the Board of Directors of and is the Colorado state representative for the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), the national support organization for adoptive families. She has represented COCAF on multiple state-level committees dealing with children and family issues, has presented workshops on different adoptive issues, including adoption subsidies, has developed innovative programs providing support to families, and advocates for families at all stages of the adoptive process.

Deborah is a senior-level scientist for an environmental consulting firm. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Geology from the University of California and a Master of Science in Hydrogeology from the University of Nevada.

Deborah and her husband Alan are the proud adoptive parents of two children.

  Jen Dale:
  Rachel Derrington (Secretary):
Rachel Derrington is COCAF’s Douglas County representative. Professionally, Rachel is a project specialist for Public Strategies. Before working at Public Strategies, Rachel was an adoptive families program coordinator for The Adoption Exchange, assisting prospective and licensed adoptive on how to maneuver through the child welfare system in Colorado.

Rachel is an adoptee, and the mother of twin 5-year old boys.

Jim Dixon:
James (Jim) Dixon is COCAF’s Broomfield County representative. He retired as the Regional Commissioner for the U. S. Department of Education after 31 years of service. Jim is now a self-employed human services consultant working specifically with American Indian and Alaska Native individuals with disabilities. Jim has a Bachelor of Science from Brigham Young University, a Master of Arts from the University of Maryland, and a PhD in Audiology and Psychology from the University of Washington.

Jim and his wife, Aloha, served as foster parents in Adams County for 18 years and were active in the leadership of the county association of foster parents. They have eight children, one of whom is adopted through Adams County. Jim’s adopted daughter is American Indian/African American and is affected by fetal alcohol syndrome and has been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. They also have three grandchildren.

  Kristie Griffith-Jones (Vice President):
Kristie Griffith-Jones is one of COCAF’s Jefferson County representatives and the chair of the fundraising committee. Kristie works for The Adoption Exchange as the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter. In this position, Kristie locates potential adoptive families for children in foster care. Kristie has a B.S. degree in elementary education with a secondary endorsement in psychology.

Kristie adopted two children from Ethiopia. Kristie’s daughter was 14 at the time of her adoption. An amazing volleyball player who plays on an elite club team, Kristie’s daughter had never played volleyball before coming to the US. Kristie’s son was also 14 at the time of his adoption. He is very mechanically inclined, and was able to completely disassemble an old computer and rebuild it...and it actually worked!

Beverly Holst:
Beverly is the mother of four biological children and one foster child. She has a degree in nursing and certification in parent education, and was a therapeutic foster parent for 20 years. She served as office manager for the Colorado State Foster Parent Association for 10 years, and on the board of directors of the Jefferson County Foster Parent Association for 11 years. At present she is a foster parent and CASA volunteer, and serves on the Jefferson County Child Protection Team. She has been involved on state and local committees for the betterment of children in foster care, and strives to make life better for one child at a time.
  Colleen Tarket (President):
Colleen Tarket is a Jefferson County COCAF representative and the current Board President. Colleen has extensive experience with federal contract management and technical writing, and has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Metropolitan State College.

Colleen is married and has four birth children, one stepchild, four adopted children, and seven grandchildren. Colleen is also an adoptee. Her adopted children are birth siblings and were adopted through Jefferson County in 2000. Two of her adopted children have numerous mental disorders, so Colleen has become very educated in how to find appropriate services for her children.

  Roxanne Thompson:
  Donna Vail:
Donna Vail is COCAF’s Western Slope representative. Professionally, Donna is on the Mesa County Advisory Board and the State Steering Committee for the Adoptive Families Initiative grant, a federal grant managed by COCAF that provides post-adoptive services. Donna also co-facilitates the biweekly post adoption support group for Mesa County. Donna has a B.S. degree in nursing.

Donna, herself an adoptee, is married with seven children. Three of her children were adopted through the child welfare system in Mesa County. Her adopted children were ages 4, 5, and 9 at the time of their adoptions; they are now 12, 13, and 13, respectively. Two of the children were behind in school when adopted, but are now making A’s and B’s in their classes. One of the adopted children is very musically talents, singing opera and playing both the flute and the piano.

Leslie VanDyne:
Leslie VanDyne is one of COCAF’s Larimer County representatives. Leslie has a Master of Arts degree in elementary education, and was an elementary school teacher before becoming an adoption advocate.

Leslie is the parent of five children. Her youngest daughter was adopted through the child welfare system at the age of 8. Through her experiences in acquiring the services her adoptive daughter needs, Leslie developed a desire to assist adoptive families by providing information and connections with critical resources.