Summit County Children’s Justice Center director resigns
Summit County is searching for a new director to head the Summit County Children’s Justice Center following the resignation of Melissa McKain, who stepped down last month after five years at the helm of the organization.
McKain left her position in late July for unspecified reasons, according to Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson. She was unable to discuss the details surrounding McKain’s departure, citing personnel confidentiality. McKain did not respond to The Park Record’s requests for comment.
The Children’s Justice Center has worked under the auspices of the County Attorney’s Office since it opened in 2012. Officials with the Justice Center interview children and teenagers under 18 years old who have been victimized by abuse. The majority of the victims are between the ages of 7 and 13.
McKain worked over the last several years to highlight the services provided at the Children’s Justice Center through open houses and panel discussions. She told The Park Record in an interview in 2017 that, “children who have been abused must become a priority for the residents of Summit County.”
The Park City Women’s Giving Fund awarded the Children’s Justice Center a $30,000 grant in 2016 to provide a medical exam room and on-site sexual assault nurse examiner, further expanding the services the center provided.
Following an open house in April, McKain said in an interview the team was “more energized.”
“We were just talking about: What are we going to do next?” she said. “How do you build off of this wonderful evening?”
Olson, along with the help of the Children’s Justice Center’s advisory board, will oversee the hiring process to find McKain’s replacement. The advisory board comprises representatives from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, Park City Police Department and Summit County Health Department, among others.
“I’ve asked the board to help vet applicants and objectively score applications and candidates and make recommendations to me about who I should interview,” Olson said.
Olson and Summit County’s chief prosecutor Patricia Cassell will conduct interviews based on the board’s recommendation. Once a candidate is selected, the advisory board will conduct a final interview and ratify the decision.
The position was posted to the county’s website in early August and has been advertised with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, which administers the Children’s Justice programs statewide.
The director of the Children’s Justice Center is responsible for overseeing its operation. When law enforcement officials receive a report of abuse, the director schedules an appointment for the victim to be interviewed at the facility. The Children’s Justice Center operates in the bottom of the Sheldon Richins Building in Kimball Junction.
“It’s a very important and critical service that we provide,” Olson said. “The director really coordinates the multi-disciplinary team and runs the nuts and bolts of the center. It’s a big job.”
Summit County’s Children’s Justice Center is one of 26 centers across the state providing child-focused programs. It is a nonprofit, government agency and is funded by Park City Municipal, federal grants and private donations.
The job description on the county’s website stated candidates must be able to establish and maintain an operation in which cases of child abuse “may be handled in the least traumatic environment.” The annual salary will pay between about $48,000 and nearly $68,000, with benefits.
Olson said she reviewed the first batch of applications on Monday. More than 30 were received. She expects a “large number of very qualified candidates.”
Olson said the goal is to have someone selected by mid-September. Christina Sally, an investigator with the Children’s Justice Center, is currently serving as interim director. Sally brought the service in Summit County.
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