H.R. NO.













URGING FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS TO network and cooperate TO support foster families in hawaii.




     WHEREAS, children are our state's most precious resource, making it our greatest interest to nurture and provide them with the opportunities and resources they need to reach their highest potential; and


     WHEREAS, according to the State of Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS), more than 4,000 children entered foster care in Hawaii in 2006, which constitutes a significant decrease from past years as new and innovative programs have been developed to protect and serve our children and families better; and


     WHEREAS, foster children come from all backgrounds and age groups, from birth to age 18, and 45 percent of foster children are of Hawaiian or part Hawaiian descent; and


     WHEREAS, children enter foster care for various reasons, the most common of which are physical abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and parental drug use; and


     WHEREAS, we have a shared responsibility to serve the needs of foster children and to support the foster families that strive to provide these children with safe, healthy, and loving homes; and


     WHEREAS, as of 2006, there were fewer than 2000 foster homes, representing only a portion of homes that are needed; and


     WHEREAS, Kokua `Ohana, a foster care program that was the result of a collaborative effort between the Partners in Development Foundation and DHS, works with churches and community organizations in the native Hawaiian community to recruit, train, and support foster families through the general licensing process, with the goal of striving for cultural harmony within Hawaii's child welfare system by uniting churches, community organizations, and families to care for and nurture Hawaii's foster keiki; and


     WHEREAS, Kokua `Ohana offers to help churches build a foster family ministry, members of which recruit others to become foster families, encourage others to become members of the ministry, support other foster families, accept and distribute donations, enjoy fellowship activities, mentor new foster families, help with household projects, and provide childcare; and


     WHEREAS, Kokua `Ohana will train foster family ministry members about foster care and develop an action plan to reach the hearts of congregations, funnel community donations to foster families in the church, help build relationships with local social workers to improve communication and services provided by the State, and provide support for prospective foster parents throughout the general licensing process; and


     WHEREAS, the collaboration of faith-based organizations to help our children in foster care in such a way would have far-reaching benefits for society; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, that faith-based organizations in the state are urged to network and cooperate to support foster families in Hawaii, such as by forming foster family ministries; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Director of Human Services, Director of Kokua `Ohana, Executive Director of Hawaii Youth Services Network, and President of Family Programs Hawaii.







Report Title: 

Foster Families; Faith-Based Organizations