Children of the River Child Advocacy Center

Mission Statement

To provide education, advocacy, and a multi- disciplinary response to decrease re-traumatization of children and elders who are victims of crime.


Our Community stands together to eliminate all forms of abuse.

Contact Info

Program Manager:
Carmelita A. Smith
(253) 382-6194

Victims Advocate Care Coordinator:
Marjorie Basballe
(253) 382-6093

Advocacy Services

Victim advocates at the CRCAC are professionals trained to support victims of crime. Victim Advocates help to reduce the trauma to victims and their families, while honoring the cultural values and traditions of the Puyallup Tribe.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Victim of A Crime—physical and/or sexual abuse, severe physical/emotional neglect, and /or drug endangerment.
  • Witness to a crime. Crime committed against any child on the reservation.
  • Crime committed against a child tribal member on or off the reservation.
  • Involved with Law Enforcement or Child Protection Services (CPS).

Services Provided

  • Provide information on victimization;
  • Provide information on victims legal rights and protections;
  • Provide emotional support;
  • Help victims with safety planning;
  • Help victims with victim compensation applications;
  • Provide referrals for other services for victims;
  • Provide rides to court;
  • Notifying victims of inmates’ release or escape;
  • Provide information of the criminal justice and court process;
  • Help victims find shelter.

If you are a crime victim

Advocates offer victims information about the different options available to them and support victims’ decision-making. Advocates do not tell victims what to do. Advocates are committed to maintaining the highest possible level of confidentiality in their communications with victims. However, advocates must report certain types of information to the authorities. Advocates must report if a client is threatening to hurt themselves or others, child abuse and/or neglect of children. It may be difficult for you to reach out for help. However, you may find that victim advocates can offer you information, support, and access to helpful services you might not know about. Victims and their non-offending caregivers are often relieved to know that victim advocates want to make sure they are safe and have the help they need to recover from the impact of the crime.

What to expect from CRCAC

Child Forensic Interviews

The CRCAC is a safe place for children to talk about abuse and tell their story to the Forensic Interviewer. The Forensic Interviewer is trained to speak with children about difficult subjects and to ask developmentally appropriate questions. The interview is conducted in a non-leading and non-threatening manner. Investigative agencies may watch this interview from another room. This allows the interviewer to address the questions of other team members.

  • Who will talk to my child?
    • Your child will be talking with a Child Interview Specialist. The interviewer is specially trained in evidence-based interviewing techniques that allow children to talk about what might have happened when there are concerns that a crime may have occurred. The interview is child friendly and your child will never be forced to talk. You child can take a break or end the interview at any time.It is important to share with the detective or advocate any information you think that the interviewer should know about your child, including any language delays, developmental delays, or fears about the interview.
  • When should I tell my child about the interview?
    • You are the best judge of when to tell your child that they are going to be interviewed and when. In general telling children the day before or the day of allows enough time so that the interview is not a surprise but also doesn’t provoke a lot of anxiety. Be sure not to categorize the interview as a doctors visit or other activity that your child may be distressed about.
  • How can I help my child before the interview?
    • Let your child know that they will be coming to talk to a person who’s job is to talk to kids.
    • Give your child permission to talk to the interviewer about anything that might have happened to them.
    • Assure them that you will be nearby and available if they need you.
    • Let them know that they are not in trouble.
    • Remind them of the importance of telling the truth.
    • Most kids have a limited attention span so please leave toys and technology at home.
    • Ensure they have eaten and used the restroom prior to the interview.
    • Remind them that the purpose is to talk and not play with the interviewer.
  • Can I watch the interview?
    • No. The interview is observed by the detective and sometimes a social worker. Children need to be able to talk in a neutral space. Having a parent or guardian in the room can compromise the integrity of the interview.
  • How long will the interview last?
    • Child interviews are generally 30 to 45 minutes long. This varies for each child and depends on their attention span, their pace of speaking, and how much they have to say. You will be able to speak with the detective after the interview.
  • How can I help my child after the interview?
    • Thank your child for talking to the interviewer. Listen if they choose to talk about the interview. It is important not to pressure them to talk about the interview. Assure them of your love and support no matter what was talked about. Remind them that they did nothing wrong. Let them know if something happened to them there are people to help them.

Forensic Medical Examinations

The child advocacy staff help coordinate medical exams. The medical exam takes place at a medical facility that accommodates this type of exam. The exam will include a medical history from the caregiver as well as from the child, a thorough head to toe exam paying close attention to the areas of the child’s body that may have been injured.

Mental Health Screening and Services

The child advocacy center staff offer the family a mental health screening at the time of a child’s intake, exam or forensic interview. Based on the screening, staff may offer specialized trauma-informed counseling services.

Family Support Services

The victim advocate at the CRCAC aims to meet with the non-offending caregivers to conduct an intake to assess for needs of the family and offer services or referrals as needed. The victims advocate can be the compassionate support the family needs at the time of the forensic interview/exam and throughout the entirety of the case. Learning how to support your child will help in the process of recover and healing.

Multidisciplinary Team

Children of the River Advocacy center staff participate in a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT). The team members are a collaboration of entities whom have professional roles in the MDT to help child victims of physical and sexual abuse.

  • Members of the team include the following:
    • Puyallup Tribe Law Enforcement
    • United States Attorney’s Office
    • Kwawachee Counseling Center
    • Puyallup Tribe Children’s Services
    • Puyallup Tribe Prosecutors
    • Medical Personnel
    • Victim Advocate
    • Forensic Interviewer
    • Mental Health Therapist

Counseling Services

Therapy at the CRCAC provides Trauma-Focused Therapy for the tribal community and child victims of crime. The CAC’s diverse professional team allows us to connect individuals and families with highly qualified and skilled clinicians who provide confidential individual and family counseling for children and adolescents, ages 4-18.


  • Victim of crime – physical and/or sexual abuse, severe physical/emotional neglect, and/or drug endangerment.
  • Witness to a crime
  • Crime committed against any child on the reservation;
  • Crime committed against a child tribal member on or off the reservation
  • Law enforcement or Child Protective Services (CPS) involvement

Services Provided

  • Individual and family therapy for victims of crime
  • Parenting Support/psychoeducation
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • CBT
  • EMDR
  • Transportation Services for clients (limited service area)
  • Referrals to psychological services
  • Referrals to psychiatric services programs

When to seek services

Counseling services are offered when a child has made a disclosure of abuse or a referral has been made through law enforcement and/or CPS. It is normal for youth to experience challenges after they have witnessed or experienced a crime. These are times when problems develop into ongoing struggles that can affect many areas of the youth’s life. We offer mental health therapy to support and help provide relief from difficulties the youth may be experiencing.

Possible signs your child may exhibit signaling the need for support.

  • Disclosure of neglect/abuse
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Family concerns
  • Behavior and school problems
  • Grief and loss
  • Attention difficulties
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Appetite and/or sleep disturbances
  • Anger difficulties
  • Sexual behavior concerns