By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – Since January, Canadian County’s new family justice center has been serving survivors of domestic violence.
This Friday, Cardinal Point will formally celebrate its grand opening inside the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center (CCJC), 7905 E Highway 66. The event starts at 10 a.m. Aug. 20.
Canadian County is home to Oklahoma’s fourth family justice center helping survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and child abuse.
“There has been a recent uptick in survivors visiting Cardinal Point as awareness builds within the community,” Cardinal Point Director Kristie Chandler said.
“It has been wonderful to have the support and encouragement of Canadian County officials and CCJC leadership in the creation and implementation of the family justice center model for our community.”
The director cited the “multi-agency collaborative” at Cardinal Point.
Survivors feel supported and respected during their visits, surveys indicate.
They report feeling a greater sense of hope, less isolated and experienced less challenges accessing services.
At this Friday’s grand opening, a few speakers will highlight the value of Cardinal Point. Tours will be available.
“We hope to see survivors, community leaders, community agencies, partners and others who join us in this collective mission,” Chandler said.
Cardinal Point staff has been housed at the CCJC campus since Jan. 25.
There are three full-time staff members, an intern and a few volunteers who help maintain a warm and welcoming place for survivors and resource partners.
“Our staff bring nearly a combined 40 years of work with domestic violence and sexual assault survivors,” Chandler noted. “This experience is helpful as we work alongside our partners who also bring years of service with them to this collective impact model.”
The Cardinal Point Public Trust was created in October 2020 and officially began operations Jan. 1.
Cardinal Point staff continues to work in partnership with the prosecutor at the children’s justice center.
Partner staff from the Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network (ICAN) and the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office joined Cardinal Point on-site in March. Legal Aid came on-board in May.
“It is moving to observe the impact on survivors accessing the services of ICAN, the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, Legal Aid, and the District Attorney’s office in one location,” Chandler said.
“Collaborating together as multi-disciplinary professionals in one location is invaluable. The partner agency staff are the heartbeat of Cardinal Point.”
Cardinal Point is working with ICAN, the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes’ Family Violence program and law enforcement to add a medical exam program on-site and at a local hospital for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. ICAN is taking the lead to administer the program.
The next goal is to add on-site therapists with specialized domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse training to rapidly respond to requests for counseling from survivors.
For its first operating year, Cardinal Point is being funded through a $144,195 Canadian County budget allocation and a $213,229 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant.
Cardinal Point is seeking other grants and funding sources for its second operating year starting Oct. 1. A fund-raising luncheon is set Oct. 5.
For more details, call (405) 776-0992 or visit email@example.com.
Read more about Cardinal Point’s services, Friday’s open house and community luncheon in an upcoming edition.