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Closed DHS shelter could see new life as family, children’s center

OKLAHOMA CITY - Donors are hoping an old DHS shelter will soon become a family and children center.

Organizers are hoping an old DHS shelter that is owned by the county will soon be transferred to the state.

"The Family T.R.E.E. is a multi-disciplinary team of different agencies, beginning at the court process when the child comes into foster care,” said Lori Blumenthal, a long-time CASA volunteer and donor for the possible upcoming center.

Their goal is to deliver care to children and parents.

This would be a one-stop shop for therapy, medical help and simple things like classes on cooking and parenting.

"It's not just the children and how well they're doing but also the parents so that we can, hopefully, we can get to a reunification with the child going back to the parents sooner and more successfully," Blumenthal said.

Currently operating in an office across from the juvenile center, the former Pauline E. Mayer shelter would provide more space.

"It is right next door. It's the same parking lot," Blumenthal said.

Repurposing the center isn't cheap. It is expected to cost about $2 million, with $500,000 of it coming from Blumenthal herself.

The rest will come from Donor Sue Ann Arnall, who was a Continental executive with her then husband Harold Hamm now operates the Arnall Family Foundation.

Both have a dream of seeing families heal and stay together, but first Oklahoma County Commissioners must give the green-light.

"The community knows what's best for its children and, if we're all working together in a collaborative way, we can achieve that,” said Sarah Edwards, a Family T.R.E.E. volunteer.