CHARLESTON -– Kanawha Chief Circuit Judge Louis H. "Duke" Bloom has appointed a new Juvenile Referee for Kanawha County.

Chief Magistrate Traci Carper-Strickland will take over the additional duties of Juvenile Referee, effective Feb. 13. Carper-Strickland, 40, will conduct detention hearings, juvenile bail hearings, juvenile preliminary hearings, and preside in truancy cases. She will continue to serve as a magistrate, and as the chief magistrate she will continue to handle administrative matters for the 10 magistrates in Kanawha County.

"With Magistrate Carper-Strickland's appointment, we will redouble our efforts on truancy cases and have more frequent hearings and meetings in and out of schools," Bloom said.

In 2011, Kanawha County had 307 juvenile delinquency cases; 418 juvenile status offender cases (those include truancy and incorrigibility cases); and 350 adult truancy cases.

"She's uniquely qualified for the position because she understands the struggles that go along with being a working parent, like many of the folks she will see in Court," said Bloom, who became Chief Judge on Jan. 1. "She has three children, and she has years of experience in juvenile matters in the Prosecutor's Office."

Carper-Strickland worked in the Kanawha County Prosecutor's Office as a paralegal and paralegal/secretary, including several years in the juvenile division, from January 1991 until September 1999, when she was appointed Magistrate. She was elected in 2000 and did not run for re-election in 2005. She was re-appointed Magistrate in 2007 and was elected in 2008.

Carper-Strickland is the mother of three boys: Will, 10; Andrew, 8; and Michael, 6. She is married to Charleston Fire Department Captain Mark Strickland. She has an associate's degree in paralegal studies and an associate's degree in criminal justice.

Current Juvenile Referee Ward Harshbarger will return to the regular rotation in Magistrate Court.

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