By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
EL RENO – Canadian County’s proposed annual budget includes $94,000 to help kick-start a new “one-stop” domestic violence center.
A grand opening this fall is projected for Cardinal Point, which will be housed inside a renovated 5,000 square foot space at the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center at 7905 E Hwy 66.
Canadian County will have Oklahoma’s fourth family justice center serving domestic violence survivors.
Kristie Chandler, Cardinal Point’s project coordinator, said she “can’t wait to open the doors!” to start serving Canadian County domestic violence survivors.
“Ultimately, we’d like to have a welcoming, safe place – one place – where adult and child victims can go when they are hurting because of experiencing a crime like domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and stalking,” Chandler said.
The opening of Cardinal Point is tied directly to the CCCJC receiving a certificate of occupancy from the state fire marshal’s office once the facility’s construction project is finished.
“Our hope is that we open this fall as soon as we’re able to physically move into our space at the Children’s Justice Center,” Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries said.
The $94,000 allocation in Canadian County’s fiscal year 2020-2021 general fund budget will help Cardinal Point “get up and running”, District 2 Commissioner David Anderson said.
County Commission Chairman Marc Hader emphasized that Canadian County will not be the “primary funder long-term” and this “seed money” is a “stop gap” and until Cardinal Point has the funds to fully cover its operations.
“That is our goal,” Humphries said.
‘FILL THE GAP’
Cardinal Point will have an annual operating budget close to $400,000.
“The $94,000 (budget) request to the county commissioners was to ‘fill in the gap’ for the full operating budget,” Humphries said. “We were super-thankful that they were willing to do that.”
The Canadian County District Attorney’s Office was awarded a $213,000 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant to cover some of the first-year costs, specifically hiring personnel, information technology items and some operating expenses.
The DA’s office also had applied for a three-year Office on Violence against Women (OVW) grant to cover part of the director’s salary and other operational costs. This grant request was not approved for Canadian County – this time.
“We’ll apply for that every year because it is focused on operating and supporting family justice centers,” Humphries said. “We think we’ll constantly be a ‘fit’ to apply for that.”
Once renovated space inside CCCJC is ready to occupy, Cardinal Point will launch with three employees and resource partners offering programs to serve domestic violence survivors.
The staff will include a director, client services coordinator and a navigator.