HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.R. NO.

131

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE RESOLUTION

 

 

requesting the office of wellness and resilience establish the malama ohana working group to identify, design, and recommend transformative changes to the state's child welfare system.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, there is increasing criticism of the State's child welfare system, which is accentuated when there is a tragedy; and

 

WHEREAS, shortcomings in the State's child welfare system are not new, and there is a strong desire in the community to address these concerns; and

 

WHEREAS, although Native Hawaiian children and families are overrepresented in the State's child welfare system, all children in the system have similar issues and needs; and

 

WHEREAS, in 2018 members of Nā Kama a Hāloa, a network of community-based organizations and representatives of the Department of Human Services' Child Welfare Services Branch, came together to seek ways to address overrepresentation of Native Hawaiians in the State's child welfare system; and

 

WHEREAS, Nā Kama a Hāloa demonstrates the value of collaborating for collective impact, and since its formation, the efforts of its working groups have resulted in various positive outcomes, including requiring cultural training programs for new Child Welfare Services Branch workers and resource caregivers and a greater focus by the Department of Human Services on supporting and encouraging children in the child welfare system to connect with their siblings and reflecting the voices of the childrens' parents in their care; and

 

WHEREAS, the problems faced by children and families in the State's child welfare system are extremely complex and cannot be resolved by the Department of Human Services alone; and

 

WHEREAS, the State must work with the community and various stakeholders to address and resolve these diverse and multi-faceted problems; and

 

WHEREAS, Act 291, Session Laws of Hawaii 2022, established the Office of Wellness and Resilience within the Office of the Governor on a temporary basis; and

 

WHEREAS, the Office of Wellness and Resilience was established to address the various barriers that impact the physical, social, and emotional well-being of all people in the State by building wellness and resilience through trauma-informed, strength-based strategies and support agencies in their individual efforts to address trauma-informed care and move toward a collaborative, shared purpose of collective system reform; and

 

WHEREAS, the Office of Wellness and Resilience is uniquely equipped to host a Malama Ohana working group that consists of members of the Department of Human Services' Child Welfare Services Branch, institutions serving Native Hawaiians, contracted service providers, community-based organizations, birth parents, and youth with lived experience in the State's child welfare system; and

 

WHEREAS, the Malama Ohana working group can expand on the work done by Nā Kama a Hāloa to identify and recommend transformative changes to the State's child welfare system, which will improve outcomes for all children and families in the State's child welfare system; and

 

WHEREAS, the Malama Ohana working group can also contribute to the development of more effective community support while allowing the community to be heard and to take more responsibility for the well-being and welfare of children; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2023, that the Office of Wellness and Resilience is requested to establish the Malama Ohana working group to identify, design, and recommend transformative changes to the State's child welfare system; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group is requested to consist of the following individuals or their designees:

 

(1) The Executive Director of Effective Planning and Innovative Communication, Inc., operating as EPIC Ohana, Inc., who is requested to serve as co-chair of the working group;

 

(2) The Chief Executive Office of Hale Kipa, Inc., who is requested to serve as co-chair of the working group;

 

(3) The Director of Human Services;

 

(4) Two members of the Department of Human Services' Child Welfare Services Branch, representing its investigators, case managers, or assistants, to be appointed by the Director of Human Services;

 

(5) The Director of the Office of Wellness and Resilience;

 

(6) The Chairperson of the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force established pursuant to Act 209, Session Laws of Hawaii 2021;

 

(7) The Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs;

 

(8) The Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools; and

 

(9) The President and Chief Executive Officer of Liliuokalani Trust; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the co-chairs of the working group are requested to invite the following individuals to participate in the working group:

 

(1) Two former foster youth;

 

(2) Two birth parents who were involved in the Department of Human Services' Child Welfare Services Branch;

 

(3) Two licensed resource caregivers; and

 

(4) Two kinship resource caregivers; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group is requested to:

 

(1) Conduct informational meetings through the State with affected constituencies;

 

(2) Convene meetings to develop recommendations to better coordinate and improve the protection and well-being of children and families in the State's child welfare system;

 

(3) Identify training, best practices, assessment criteria, and methods to sustain an effective workforce within the Child Welfare Services Branch and within the larger circle of community agencies serving the child welfare system;

 

(4) Identify best practices, including any Native Hawaiian cultural practices, to assist children and youth and their families who are involved in the child welfare system;

 

(5) Identify other cultural practices that build wellness and resilience in communities and collaboration between communities and the Child Welfare Services Branch; and

 

(6) Collaborate with the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force and, where appropriate, conduct joint informational meetings; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that members of the working group shall serve without compensation; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the working group is requested to submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2024; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Human Services; Director of the Office of Wellness and Resilience; Chief Executive Officer of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Chairperson of the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force; Executive Director of Effective Planning and Innovative Communication, Inc., operating as EPIC Ohana; Chief Executive Officer of Hale Kipa, Inc.; Chief Executive Officer of Kamehameha Schools; and President and Chief Executive Officer of Liliuokalani Trust.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

Malama Ohana Working Group; Office of Wellness and Resilience; Child Welfare System