By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Canadian County’s domestic violence center is up and running – and a large grant is again being sought to help fund operations.
Cardinal Point, a family justice center for domestic violence survivors, now occupies a 5,000-square-foot space inside the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center at 7905 E Hwy 66.
Cardinal Point Director Kristie Chandler and her staff work with resource partners offering programs to serve Canadian County residents.
“Cardinal Point staff has moved into the space,” Chandler told Canadian County Commissioners at their March 8th meeting. “We are serving people via telephone, social media and our new chat service on our website.
“We had our first walk-in last week from the Department of Services; they walked a woman back directly from juvenile court. We also had our first child visitor last week. People are learning that we’re there and we’re open on-site.”
Partner agencies are expected to move in late March or early April once Internet and phone services are fully installed at the new domestic violence center. Canadian County now has Oklahoma’s fourth family justice center to help 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.
County commissioners dedicated $144,195 in the county’s FY20-21 budget as “seed money” so Cardinal Point could open recently inside renovated space at the county’s centrally located juvenile center.
A $213,229 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant also is helping fund Cardinal Point operations. The District Attorney’s Office applied for – and was awarded – this grant in 2020.
GETTING THAT GRANT
Cardinal Point will soon apply for more operational funding through the Office of Violence Against Women for Improving Criminal Justice Responses to Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking Grant Program.
“For our population, it’s up to $500,000,” Chandler said.
Commissioners have signed a letter of intent – due March 16 – as part of the grant submission process.
Cardinal Point was not awarded the Office of Violence Against Women grant in 2020.
“We were given some feedback on how to make our application more successful as a first-time applicant from last year,” Chandler explained. “We intend to do that.
“This proposal emphasizes the priority for governmental agencies to be the lead applicant on this type of grant.
Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart is encouraged about Cardinal Point’s chances to secure much-needed funding.
“I know you were not successful last year, but it will be a ‘huge win’ if we did get it,” Stewart told Chandler. “Good luck this time.”
Board members of Cardinal Point’s trust are: District Attorney Mike Fields, Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward, District 2 County Commissioner Dave Anderson, Jacqueline Steyn, and Heidi Oliver.