Summit County local takes reins at Children’s Justice Center
When Christie Hind and her family moved to Summit County from Los Angeles in 2016, she was looking for an opportunity that would help her transition from a corporate legal background to a more public service-oriented, community-based position. And she recently found it.
Hind was selected as the new director of the Summit County Children’s Justice Center. Her first day was Sept. 20. She replaces Melissa McKain, who resigned from the position for unspecified reasons in July after serving as director for five years.
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 who are served are between the ages of 7 and 13.
It is one of 26 centers across the state providing child-focused programs.
“I am extremely thrilled at the opportunity to shift professionally and to be able to serve Summit County and the children of various backgrounds coming through the center,” she said.
Hind has more than 20 years worth of legal experience. She worked as a litigator, specializing in banking and securities. But, she spent a significant amount of time providing pro bono work. She was trained as a human rights lawyer and clerked for the American Civil Liberties Union in New York after graduating from law school.
She will be responsible for overseeing the center’s operation. When law enforcement officials receive a report of abuse, the director schedules an appointment for the victim to be interviewed at the facility, which aims to minimize the additional trauma victims experience during criminal proceedings against their abusers.
“I do feel like I have, throughout my career, been able to make myself available to families and children who need it most,” she said.
Hind said her vision is to have a seamless transition. She plans to increase education and awareness surrounding child abuse in the community.
“If we do our job right, I know we won’t eradicate child abuse,” she said. “But, if we can poke some holes in that through awareness, we could create a community where abuse isn’t tolerated on any level.”
Summit County received 30 applications for the position, with nine applicants being interviewed. Summit County Attorney Margaret Olson, along with the help of the Children’s Justice Center’s advisory board, oversaw the hiring process.
“Christie displayed a passion and enthusiasm and experience working with nonprofits,” Olson said. “I felt, at this crucial time at the CJC where we are in the process of procuring a new standalone facility, her unique talent combined with her brimming enthusiasm and passion for this work was the right choice.”
Olson said Hind’s is the face she wants families to see when they are going through unfortunate circumstances.
“They will see peace and joy and hope when bringing their precious child on the worst days of their life into a very unfamiliar situation to have an interview and possibly medical examination,” she said. “I thought she was the whole package.”
Hind will also be working closely with the Community for Children’s Justice, a nonprofit organization working to secure a new facility for the Summit County Children’s Justice Center. The organization is expecting to close on a property located on Silver Summit Parkway, adjacent to the southbound U.S. 40 on ramp, in October.
The Snyderville Basin Planning Commission approved a conditional-use permit last month that will allow the organization to convert the current home into an operational facility. A community open house is scheduled at the new property on Oct. 13 from 4 to 6 p.m. where Hind and other members of the Community for Children’s Justice will be present to provide a tour and explain the vision for the property. Light refreshments will be served.
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