Department Spotlight: Children’s Services

Children Services Department photo

By Molly Bryant, Puyallup Tribal News

The Children’s Services Department serves to protect Puyallup Tribal children and their well-being, while also supporting their parents.

Under the leadership of Director Ronda Metcalf, the Children’s Services Department has become a beacon of support for families both within and beyond the Tribe. Metcalf, who has been working in this field for over 28 years, highlighted the importance of cultural sensitivity and understanding historical trauma in the context of child welfare.

The passionate 24-person team handles various aspects, including foster care licensing, Child Protective Services (CPS), case aids, general welfare, voluntary services, administrative support, case management and extended support services.

One key component of Children’s Services is its Child Placement Agency (CPA). Theirs is one of the top-performing Tribal CPAs in Washington State.

They license Native and non-Native community members, including PTOI staff. “We need all community members who are available, willing and who can help with our Puyallup Tribal foster kids, whether it be one night or long-term,” said CPA Program Manager Kaylena Satiacum. For those interested in fostering, there are a few options: a standard foster care license, a kinship foster care license for relatives with waived non-safety requirements and a certified caregiver, a Tribe-offered option independent of the State’s foster care system.

To help support caregivers, kids and families, they put on many events. For example, they recently relaunched their caregiver community gatherings, at one of which caregivers had the opportunity to talk freely with therapists from Kwawachee Counseling Center about challenges they are experiencing. The department also helps pay for any safety supplies foster parents need to be licensed, such as baby gates, play pens, smoke detectors, lock boxes and more.

Their staff works tirelessly in the pursuit of reuniting families. They operate 24/7, including holidays. “I think everyone here is extremely passionate about this job. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here, because it’s a lot of hard work,” said Shannel Squally-Janzen, extended support services case manager. “I think we all know that what we’re doing is extremely important in keeping families together and safe.”

A key aspect of the program is integrating culture. PTCS often includes Language and Culture departments to participate in their events to help the kids connect with their culture. Culture opens many PTCS events with song and prayer. PTCS recently ordered coloring books illustrated by a Puyallup Tribal member called “Being Native is Cool” to give to the children.

All non-native caregivers have cultural contracts that require them to keep Native children engaged in culture. Licensed Foster homes are also required to receive 24 hours of additional training throughout three years, and the Tribe is allowed to apply 12 of those hours toward cultural events or activities.

The Culture Department has made kits that case managers can give to children interested in culture or crafting. During health and safety visits, they gave the Children’s Services Department jams, sage and tea kits to bring to the foster children.

For more information on the Children’s Services department, call at 253-680-5532 or email

To become a foster parent or certified caregiver, call 253-680-5532 or email