STAND. COM. REP. NO. 125
RE: S.B. No. 979
Honorable Donna Mercado Kim
President of the Senate
Twenty-Eighth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2015
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Human Services and Housing, to which was referred S.B. No. 979 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO YOUTH,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish a network of safe places where youth can access safety and obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services by:
(1) Requiring the Department of Human Services to coordinate a five-year safe places for youth pilot program for youth who are at least 14 years old and under the age of 21;
(2) Establishing the position of Safe Places for Youth Program Coordinator;
(3) Establishing a framework to allow youth under the age of 18 to consent to receive services; and
(4) Appropriating funds for the Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program Coordinator position and housing options for youth in crisis.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of Youth Services, Hawaii Youth Services Network, Planned Parenthood of Hawaii, Hale Kipa, Hawaii Primary Care Association, Blueprint for Change, Family Programs Hawaii, and four individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from fourteen individuals.
Your Committee finds that Hawaii's youth are not immune to daily threats to their health and safety. Youth run away from homes where abuse, neglect, and domestic violence are commonplace, and from schools where bullying becomes intolerable and a barrier to educational achievement. Without access to safe places, youth in these situations are vulnerable and may be victimized by predatory adults or turn to delinquent behaviors and become entangled with the juvenile justice system.
Your Committee further finds that at the 2012 Children and Youth Summit, youth expressed that one of their highest priorities is to address the lack of safe places where they can have fun and seek help without the fear of being harassed, bullied, pressured by other youth or adults, or arrested by law enforcement. The youth expressed interest in being able to access youth-specific guidance and services, including counseling for suicide prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, tobacco cessation, and alcohol and substance abuse support.
Your Committee has amended this measure by making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Human Services and Housing that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 979, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 979, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Human Services and Housing,
SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND, Chair