Supreme Court hires monitor to oversee juvenile facilities

By The West Virginia Record | Apr 25, 2012

CHARLESTON -– Justice Margaret L. Workman has announced the Supreme Court has hired a monitor to oversee juvenile justice facilities in West Virginia.

Cindy Largent-Hill of Morgan County, former director of the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services, has an extensive professional history working with West Virginia's youth and families in residential treatment, behavioral health and juvenile justice.

Her responsibilities will include visiting facilities, talking with residents, and reviewing files of residents at the Industrial Home for Youth in Salem, the Honey Rubenstein Center in Davis, and other youth in court-ordered out-of-home placements.

She also will work closely with circuit courts and their probation staffs; the Department of Education Office of Institutional Education; and executive and legislative branches of government as directed by the Court, the Adjudicated Juvenile Rehabilitation Review Commission, and Administrative Director Steve Canterbury.

The Commission was created in June 2011 to examine the Division of Juvenile Services' operations plan and programs at the two facilities. Largent-Hill is a member of the commission.

"Ms. Largent-Hill has dedicated her career to working with youths and families in our state and brings a wealth of experience to the position," Workman said. "As an administrator with the Division of Juvenile Services, a provider of residential treatment, and in the behavioral health field, Cindy has demonstrated her commitment to the betterment of West Virginia's youth.

"The members of the commission are all very dedicated and have uncovered a number of troubling issues related to juveniles detained by court order."

Canterbury agreed.

"Currently there seems to be too little emphasis on individual programming and re-entry strategies," he said.

"This is not wholly an executive branch set of problems," Workman added. "We believe that the work of the Commission will assist us in improving judicial education as well as making recommendations to the legislative and executive branches of government for progress in juvenile rehabilitation and public safety."

After the Commission completes its work, a full report with detailed findings and recommendations will be released.

"This is a monitor, not a special master and not a receiver," Workman
said. "It would be premature without full information and study to appoint a special master or receiver. We want to work cooperatively with the other branches of government."

Ms. Hill said, "By establishing this position, the Court has made a commitment to West Virginia's youths and families, and I look forward to working with the Commission to carry out that commitment. Youths in the juvenile justice system will have an advocate dedicated to their care, treatment, and rehabilitation. I am honored and excited to assume that role and to fulfill those responsibilities."

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