Local woman appointed as new Juvenile Monitor
by Jazz Clark
Morgan County’s Cindy Largent-Hill has worked with troubled youth for many years, in several different capacities. In early March, she was appointed by the state Supreme Court to be a Juvenile Monitor for the state’s juvenile rehabilitation programs.
State Supreme Court representatives
established the position so a Monitor could visit facilities, talk to residents and review files at various court-ordered out-of-home placements.
Facilities under review by the court include the Industrial Home for Youth in Salem, and the Honey Rubenstein Center in Davis, among other facilities that work with and rehabilitate juvenile offenders
Hill will also work closely with circuit courts and their probation staff, the Department of Education Office of Institutional Education, and executive and legislative branches of government as directed by the Supreme Court.
Largent-Hill has already cultivated several reports on facilities and juveniles, and is eager to suggest improvements so youth can be properly treated and cared for.
“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,” said Justice Margaret Workman.” As an administrator with the Division of Juvenile Services, a provider of residential treatment, and in the behavioral health field, Cindy has demonstrated the commitment to the betterment of West Virginia’s youth.”
Largent-Hill is a member of the Adjudicated Juvenile Rehabilitation Commission, established in June 2011 to examine operation plans and programs for the Division of Juvenile Services.
Largent-Hill believes that a change is needed in juvenile services, and that the three branches of government need to be pulled together.
“The systems are certainly talking and communicating together, but not always working together all the time,” said Largent-Hill. “We need to identify needs and make the system fit the need instead of making the juvenile fit the system; mold the services to the need of the child.”
She first discovered that she wanted to help children while volunteering at West Virginia University in the children’s wing. Seeing children who were abused really touched her, and she worked as many hours as she could.
Soon after, she gravitated towards helping teenagers.
“Teenagers are the least desired population to work with,” Largent-Hill said. “But teenagers are also the most challenging and rewarding.”
For teens in West Virginia and in Morgan County, substance abuse has been a substantial concern. Today, she has seen many more young people needing parenting classes as well, male and female alike.
“Levels of service vary here and everyone has a different way of handling juvenile cases,” Largent-Hill said. “It’s fortunate that West Virginia is a small enough state that we can change things for the better if we work together.”
Even with this new position, Largent-Hill is committed to local involvement.
“I feel blessed to work out of the Eastern Panhandle. Morgan County is my home.”
Some of the boys she worked with at Timber Ridge School came from Morgan County.
Largent-Hill also feels pride for the steps being taken to revamp the juvenile rehabilitation system.
“Currently there seems to be too little emphasis on individual programming and re-entry strategies,” said Administrative Director Steve Canterbury.
“The courts should be complimented on seeing that more should be done,” said Largent-Hill. “They established an independent position that can be the voice and advocate for children in the courts as well as a voice in the local community.”