Christal Halseth, LCSW

Executive Director


Christal is originally from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula but has been a resident of ND for almost twenty years. She has been with the Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy Center since 2011. She oversees agency operations, conducts forensic interviews, and provides psychotherapy treatment to include Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), CBT, Couples Counseling, and Grief and Loss Counseling. She also speaks publicly on issues and dynamics related to crimes against children. She currently sees both children and adults at the NPCAC. She enjoys spending time with her husband and children, as well as traveling to Northern Michigan to be with her extended family.

Shannon Hilfer, LPCC

Forensic Interview Program Coordinator


Shannon joins the NPCAC after well more than a decade of work at the Dakota Children’s Advocacy Center. She has been an integral part in many cases involving children who have been sexually abused or are victims of other crimes. she trains other professionals, including law enforcement across the state in areas of crimes against children. Her knowledge and skills have been an asset to our organization.

Heather Waller, LBSW

Family Advocacy Program Coordinator


Heather has been Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy Center since 2014. She supports children and their families through the investigation and prosecutorial process of child abuse. She assists caregivers in obtaining services, provides on-going support, and serves as a liaison between the families and multidisciplinary team members.

Connie Wilson

Director of Finance


Connie is a Minot native. She started with the Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy Center as a Board Member in 2010 and was the Board Treasurer from 2017 to 2019.
In 2020 she handled all the finances for the NPCAC and in 2021 joined the staff full time. She will spearhead some fundraising events and assists the Executive Director with day-to-day operations. Connie enjoys spending time with her husband and children and is a very active volunteer in the Minot community.

Cassondra Badke

Case Manager


Cassondra Badke has 6+ years’ experience in mental health, and her dedication to the families she serves is evident in the quality of her work. She has a bachelor’s in psychology and is working towards a master’s in clinical mental health counseling. Her favorite pastime is making memories with her daughter and golden retriever. She loves to travel and spend time with family and friends.

Tressa Blake

Intake Specialist/Office Coordinator


Tressa Blake has worked in administrative capacities for several Minot-area clinics, both in the medical and mental health fields. Her passion is to advocate for children and connect with others in the community. She loves trying out new restaurants and visiting local businesses. Tressa resides in Minot with her three children and two cats.

Jesse Crosby, LCAC

Clinical Addiction Counselor


Jesse Crosby is a Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor with a bachelor’s in addiction studies from Minot State University. Jesse has been providing services to adolescents and adults in the area since 2016, joining the NPCAC in 2021 to offer substance use counseling services. He enjoys spending time with his wife and family, as well as playing basketball, camping, and traveling.

Mary Gamas

Forensic Interviewer | Family Advocate


Mary is a Minot native who received her B.S. in criminal justice in 2020. Mary has a background in child welfare and juvenile court. She has been with the Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy Center since June 2021. Mary conducts forensic interviews with children regarding abuse, neglect and maltreatment. She also works as a family advocate, providing support to families before, during and after the interview process.

Samantha Knipp, LBSW

Forensic Interviewer | Family Advocate


Samantha started at the NPCAC in June 2021. She is a recent graduate of Minot State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. Samantha conducts forensic interviews with children regarding abuse, neglect and maltreatment. She also works as a family advocate, providing support to families before, during and after the interview process.

Tammy Ness, LCSW

Program Evaluation Consultant


Tammy was part of the original team who helped bring the Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy Center to Minot, also serving as a board member for several years. Tammy has a Masters of Social Work from the University of North Dakota and has worked for the North Central Human Service Center for 30+ years both as an employee and consultant, helping children and families who have experienced trauma.

Benjamin Parker, LBSW

Child & Family Therapist


Ben Parker is a Licensed Master Social Worker with a Masters of Social Work from Florida State University, along with a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Minot State University. Originally from Wyoming, Ben has been living in Minot since 2012. His past work experience includes working with domestic violence victims, special education individuals, at-risk youth, and family therapy. In his free time he enjoys playing Xbox, reading, making music, and trying new recipes.

Shari Pister

Child & Family Therapist


Shari Pister is a licensed master social worker with a master’s in social work from the University of South Dakota. She has experience with both youth and adult clients with struggles in mental health and addiction. A true North Dakotan, Shari loves to incorporate her farming experience into therapy sessions, sometimes even bringing baby goats to work or planting seeds with clients. When not at the office, Shari can be found spending time with her family or crafting.

Janelle Warren

Office Assistant


Janelle is just beginning in her career and has a passion for helping children who are victims of crime. She aspires to obtain a degree in Social Work and looks forward to working in the area of forensic interviewing. She currently assists all NPCAC staff with daily operations.
It has a calming atmosphere, and the people were very kind.