The Children's Justice Center provides a vital service to child crime victims in the county, but for the past nine months the center has been without an Executive Director. Thanks to the recent approval of funding for the position by the Summit County Council, however, the center will soon be looking for one.
Summit County Attorney David Brickey, who pitched the funding request to the County Council last week, stressed the importance of the position and the efforts of Christa Hortin, a Summit County Legal Secretary who has been filling the role of the Executive Director for the past nine months.
"For the past nine months, Christa has been doing that on top of her job duties," Brickey said. "She's taken time off from her family and she's help put in some extra time on weekends."
The Children's Justice Center provides a safe and welcoming environment for juvenile victims of abuse and other crimes to be interviewed. According to Brickey, the interviews conducted there can be used in court.
Among other duties, the Executive Director makes sure the paperwork for the Center is maintained and also maintains communication with the state. Although the Center has been playing an important role in the county, Brickey says a location move would be ideal.
"I envision the person [who is hired] being an advocate for moving it out of its current location," Brickey said. "It's in the Health Department space currently, but we want to try to move towards a new facility and stay in keeping with the tradition of the previous Children's Justice Center."
The Center previously served both Summit and Wasatch Counties and was located in a house in Heber. Brickey would like the new location to be a building that is a bit more welcoming to children, since he says children feel more comfortable in an aesthetically appealing building.
The Executive Director position will likely be posted in around 30 days or so, according to Brickey, as long as the Center can get money in place quickly from the state. In the meantime, Brickey said he has been astounded by the sacrifice that Hortin has given thus far to ensuring the Center continues to welcome in child victims.
"It's been a sacrifice of a personal nature but it's put an emotional drain on time she could have been spending with her family," Brickey said.