IRON COUNTY CHILDREN’S JUSTICE CENTER
The purpose of the CJC is to coordinate and track investigation, related medical service, prosecution, treatment, and training in order to protect the best interests of the child and the community, and to support the professionals who investigate and prosecute cases.
The mission of the Iron County Children’s Justice Center is to provide a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, nonprofit, intergovernmental response to: Sexual abuse of children, physical abuse of children and other crimes involving children where the child is a primary victim or a critical witness, such as drug-related child endangerment cases, in a safe, neutral, child-focused setting. Its purpose is to coordinate and track investigation, related medical service, prosecution, treatment, and training in order to protect the best interests of the child and the community, and to support the professionals who investigate and prosecute cases.
Each child has an inherent right to be treated with dignity. Child abuse is a community problem: no single agency, individual or discipline has the necessary knowledge, skills or resources to provide all the assistance needed by abused children and their families.
The combining of the experience and professional knowledge of child protective services, law enforcement, prosecution and court personnel, and medical and mental health professionals can result in a more thorough understanding of case issues and can provide the best possible system response.
Open communication and case coordination among community professionals and agencies are critical for protecting the child and promoting justice.
The protection and interests of each child will be foremost in all recommendations related to investigation, referrals, treatment, prosecution and emotional support.
Wendy Jessen, Director
Wendy Jessen is a survivor of childhood abuse. Through her own healing process, she discovered her life’s passion: to advocate for others who have similarly suffered. She never wants anyone to feel as alone as she did, so she works to support other survivors both in her personal and professional life. Wendy authored a book about recovering from sexual abuse, which has touched many lives for good. She is a recipient of the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Award from the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Wendy is a graduate of Southern Utah University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and is now working on a master’s degree. As a mother of six kids, Wendy understands the need for protecting and standing up for our children. Previously, she has worked alongside law enforcement to provide support and advocate for victims of crime, specializing in abuse against children. Wendy is excited to continue her life’s work while leading the Iron County Children’s Justice Center!
Stephanie Rainey, Victim Services Coordinator
Stephanie was born and raised in Cedar City and can’t seem to get enough of this great community and the beauty of Southern Utah – which is why she moved back after marrying Travis Rainey.
Stephanie has worked primarily with animals most of her life. She started as a dog groomer and working in pet stores and that passion grew to rescuing many animals (mainly reptiles), working as a Vet Tech and working for Wildlife Resources. Although her love for animals will never diminish, she felt she needed something new in her life and has always loved working with children. This is what lead her to the Children’s Justice Center (CJC). Learning about all the CJC does and how much she’d be able to help children and families in her community Stephanie knew she’d found her place. When asked if this was a job she’d be able to do she said “I feel like my experiences in life have prepared me to be able to do this job and what is needed to help these children”. Stephanie loves being an aunt to her many nieces and nephews as well as being “mom” to the animals in her home.
Torilyn Topham, Mental Health Counselor
Torilyn is a married mother of three boys, and loves working for the CJC as a therapist. She knows how important mental health counseling is for kids, and loves that we are able to offer it at the schools, and throughout the summer. Torilyn says It’s important for kids to have an outlet, and a safe place to talk about hard things going on in their lives.
Natalie Townsend, CMHC
Natalie is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in the State Utah. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology, with a minor in Psychology, from Southern Utah University. She also has a Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the CACREP accredited program through the University of Phoenix. While in school, Natalie focused her studies on women and multicultural issues and organized events to highlight social and cultural issues. As part of her activism, she also cofounded the Students for Social Action group.
Clinically, Natalie specializes in working with depression, anxiety, relationship problems and trauma in both adolescents and adults. Natalie also has considerable experience working with LGBTQ issues and faith crises. Natalie is trained in sexual assault and rape crisis counseling. She is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a highly effective treatment approach for victims of trauma. Additionally, Natalie is a certified EMDR therapist. (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing).
Natalie’s treatment approach is founded on compassion and inspiring hope with her clients. She believes that counseling should focus on the client’s strengths in overcoming challenges and foster resiliency in her clients. Natalie strives to empower her clients to live an authentic and healthy life, so they can better participate in personal relationships and their communities.
Jody Miller, FNP-C, APRN
Jody was born and raised in Cedar City, UT, attended Cedar High School and completed her undergraduate studies at Southern Utah University where she was a member of the SUU gymnastics team from 1995 to 1998. She received her associate degree in nursing from Weber State University in 2000 and began her nursing career at Valley View Medical Center which is now known as Cedar City Hospital.
Over her 20-year career with Cedar City Hospital she has worked in a variety of settings including the Medical Surgical Unit, Intensive Care Unit, Same Day Surgery, Recovery Room, Endoscopy, IV Therapy and the Imaging Department. Jody was graciously awarded the 2006, 2016, and 2018 Nurse Excellence Award, and was named the 2007 Employee of the Year as well as recognized with the Southern Utah Nursing Award for Outstanding Small Hospitalist Nursing Practice in 2011. Jody has achieved several certifications including Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Advanced Life Support, PICC (IV) certification, and pediatric sedation provider certification.
Jody also helped to create the first Imaging Nurse position at Cedar City Hospital and implemented the use of Nitrous Oxide for both pediatric and adult patients to aid in reducing procedural anxiety for patients. Jody obtained both her Bachelor of Nursing degree and Master of Nursing degree in Advanced Practice Nursing and Post Graduate Nurse Educator Certificate from Graceland University in Iowa. She was certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioner’s in 2018 and is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree in Advance Practice Nursing with anticipation to graduate in 2021.
Prior to joining the Iron County CJC Jody worked at a private pediatric practice providing primary care to pediatric patients. Jody is also concurrently working with Four Points Health Community Center providing primary care to patients in the Southern Utah area.
She currently lives in Cedar City with her husband and is a mother to four boys and a very proud grandma to an adorable little girl. Jody also enjoys spending time with her family and their five dogs.