Report creates action plan to family justice center

By CHRIS EVERSOLE
newseditor@mustangnews.info

A broad group from Canadian County is moving from dreaming to concrete action in creating a one-stop center where victims of domestic violence could receive help from multiple providers.
The center would provide a shelter for victims, including children, as well as providing other services, noted County Commissioner David Anderson.
“I take a lot of pride in the things we do well, but I also realize that we need to do better on some things, like helping victims of domestic violence,” he said.
The planning group is beginning to act on a strategic planning report for a family justice center, which was released Thursday.
That action will include moving forward with four work groups.
In addition, the county commissioners plan to fund a position for a project manager to help create the center, Anderson said.
The report provides a vision that stakeholders created during a May planning retreat.
The Alliance for Hope International, an organization that has helped create many family justice centers, conducted the retreat and wrote the report.
It has been helping with the project over the past year under a $70,000 contract with the county.
The center would be welcoming and include art displays, play areas, a community garden, indoor and outdoor gathering space, lots of windows and a medical triage area, the report said.
The benefits the report cites include reducing the number of abuse incidents and the amount of human trafficking, as well as making the community more aware of the trauma that victims experience and of the center’s services.
The planning group has formed four work groups to implement the report.
The governance and facilities group will be chaired by District Attorney Mike Fields and co-chaired by Dan Kern, the director of the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center.
The service delivery and operations group will be chaired by Mustang School Superintendent Charles Bradley and co-chaired by Eric Feuerborn, director of Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network.
The community engagement, outreach and volunteers group is chaired by CART House Director Matt Whetzel and co-chaired by Sheriff Chris West.
The funding and sustainability group is chaired by Commissioner Anderson and co-chaired by John Schneider, the director of Youth and Family Services.
Bradley said he was involved because the schools want to help children who are experiencing trauma from domestic problems.
“Unfortunately, we see the impact of what a family is going through,” he said.
“We want to provide families with access to the resources they need.”
The key to creating a criminal justice center is to communicate about its potential to the community, Whetzel said.
“We need to share the vision and appeal to the hearts of people,” he said.
“People follow their hearts in providing resources.”

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