By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
As it moves closer to its debut, Canadian County’s family justice center has announced its official name: Cardinal Point.
This name, along with the center itself, has been a year in the making.
Cardinal Point reflects the continuing efforts of Canadian County officials to start a family justice center to better serve survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.
The center – which will occupy a 5,000 square foot space inside Canadian County’s juvenile facility – will be one place where people who have experienced abuse can find help and hope.
“We are hoping to open by early fall,” said Kristie Chandler, Cardinal Point project coordinator.
The new brand symbolizes a vision of a hope-filled community where survivors flourish, families thrive and violence subsides.
This week’s announcement is the latest key step in making the center a reality, officials said.
“The name Cardinal Point, along with our brand identity, is filled with symbolism that aligns with our collective mission and vision for Canadian County’s family justice center,” Chandler said. “Simply put, cardinal points are directions, and directions help us get from one place to another safely.”
The family justice center concept brings together public and private agency partnerships to provide the array of services a survivor of abuse may need from just one location, according to Chandler.
“At Cardinal Point, we understand that the journey toward safety and healing is unique and the survivor is the navigator,” she said. “We have incredible partners who are committed to being a direction for hope in Canadian County.”
Canadian County Commissioner David Anderson, who has been part of the process since the early stages, is well pleased that Cardinal Point will soon be serving the county.
“It’s a facility that will provide a service to victims of domestic violence,” Anderson said.
“It’s something that’s been needed in Canadian County for a long time.
“I am happy to see the partnerships that are developing from the non-profit community, our juvenile justice center and different levels of local government. I’m glad to see that collaboration occur.”
Sheriff West agreed.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic for Canadian County,” he said. “We’re blessed to have the leadership we have in (District Attorney) Mike Fields, the judges and everyone else who has taken a part in this to serve our citizens. It will provide services while helping keep people from falling through the cracks.
“The main benefit is that the center brings all of the different resources together – virtually under one rooftop. It’s like having a wagon wheel. The hub is Cardinal Point and the spokes are all the different services that are going to be made available right there at that facility.”
AT COUNTY JUVENILE CENTER
Cardinal Point will house several partners on site in its new location at the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center, 7905 E. Highway 66 in El Reno. The building is now under renovation and is set to be ready soon.
A trust likely will be created with a governing board to oversee Cardinal Point.
“We have figured out our name for our family justice center, but we haven’t figured out its governance form,” Commissioner Anderson said. “The trust will enter into an agreement with the county to lease that office space over there.
“The trust also will enter into memorandums of understanding with the non-profits that will provide services there.”
In May 2019, Associate District Judge Bob Hughey, Canadian County Commissioners, District Attorney Fields, and Sheriff West held a strategic planning event with more than 50 community partners and stakeholders. Guidance was provided by the Alliance for Hope, a national organization that helps communities develop family justice centers.
The two-day event, at Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon, helped to draft a blueprint of what services and agencies a family justice center in Canadian County will include, as well as a timeline for when and how to accomplish the steps necessary for a center to become operational.
“It’s really gratifying, from my perspective, to see this becoming a reality,” Commissioner Anderson said.
Cardinal Point makes Oklahoma’s fourth family justice center. The other three are in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Shawnee.
Anderson believes Chandler, as Cardinal Point’s project coordinator, has provided great leadership as plans advance to open the center.
“The district attorney did a great job of finding someone with her skill set and abilities to organize and bring people together,” the District 2 county commissioner said.
“I think she would be a natural fit for the facility director. Right now, she’s still the project coordinator because it’s still conceptual.
“Once we get to operating, she would be a fantastic director. Kristie’s been working tirelessly on it for several months.”
Chandler has applied for federal grants to help fund the facility’s operation.
In January, Chandler applied for a $500,000 Improving Criminal Justices Responses to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Grant. In March, she applied for a $235,761 Victims of Crime Act Grant.
To learn more about Cardinal Point, call Chandler at (405) 295-6191.