One Safe Place Child Advocacy Center relocates to Shawnee church

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

The Child Advocacy Center (CAC) at the One Safe Place Family Justice Center relocated Tuesday to First Christian Church, located at 1625 N. Broadway in Shawnee, due to water damage caused by the storm.

According to a statement from the One Safe Place Board of Directors, last week's winter storm caused significant damage to the Family Justice Center (FJC), located at 1902 S. Gordon Cooper Drive.

"One Safe Place is one of those now trying to figure out how to balance public safety with the provision of services," the board said.

The CAC, under the direction of District Attorney Allan Grubb, and Legal Aid of Oklahoma are two entities that have been housed in the FJC building as part of the FJC initiative.

"(Citizen Potawatomi Nation) has been an extremely generous partner with and supporter of One Safe Place before, during and after the transfer of ownership of the old Mission Hill property," the board said. "They have been gracious in their offering to allow collaborative partners to remain at the facility rent-free for up to four years."

In their statement, the board explained while the CAC and Legal Aid are part of the FJC collaboration, they decide what's best for their organizations individually.

At this time, the board said as owners of the FJC building, CPN believes public safety is the most important aspect to maintain during the remediation process.

"Unfortunately, we believe it is too early in the process to determine the long term consequences of the damage, scope of repairs, time-frame, feasibility or ability to return to the facility," the board said.

CPN staff members assisted agencies with vacating the FJC building and offered to relocate organizations or put items in storage until a more concrete plan was contrived.

"While the Board of Directors of this initiative are appreciative of CPN's contribution to the collaborative effort, we must acknowledge that the (CPN) legally cannot make decisions for any agency participating in the collaborative and have no legal obligation to provide other facilities during disaster," the board said.

According to CPN Vice-Chair Linda Capps, at this time CPN can't offer any of their office space for these agencies because CPN is already overcrowded and the water damage at FJC also impacted their offices.

However, the board explained the CAC will be able to continue operating out of First Christian Church.

"The FJC originally started at this location, so collaborating agencies will be familiar with this site," the board said.

Grubb said he believes the transition to First Christian Church will cause little to no interruption of services provided to people.

However, the district attorney said if people would prefer to utilize other certified organizations, there are locations in Oklahoma City, Norman, Ada and Okemah.

"The staff of the CAC will assist victims and law enforcement in obtaining services at one of the other sites if service provision is interrupted," the board said.  

In addition, the board said based on information from a source at the CAC, currently Legal Aid will also be able to utilize space at the church if they wish to move there as well.

Check back for updates.