HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The first-of-its-kind children's receiving home in Hawaii, Ho‘omalu O Na Kamali‘i ("Protection and Safety for Children"), this month marks a milestone with a successful first year of operation and hopes for donations from the community to continue to help Leeward keiki. Since opening its doors in April of 2009, the home, which is operated by Family Programs Hawaii (FPH) under a contract with the State Department of Human Services (DHS), has been a haven for children removed from homes for alleged abuse and neglect. Some of the most significant outcomes this past year have included:
"We couldn't have asked for a better or more successful first year," said Linda Santos, president and CEO of Family Programs Hawaii. "It is extremely gratifying to know that we've been able to help so many children, to allay their fears and provide comfort during a time that can only be described as extreme and emotionally draining. With Ho`omalu O Na Kamali`i and its wonderful staff and network of volunteers, we are able to provide structure during a traumatic time, and a safe and nurturing environment for children who may have suffered abuse and neglect."
Having served 127 children, including one family of nine keiki, Ho`omalu O Na Kamali`i now is in need of:
(NEW items only please)
Hawaii Self Storage is now accepting donations of these items at all five Hawaii Self Storage locations in Salt Lake, Pearl City, Kaimuki, Mililani and Kapolei.
"Ho`omalu O Na Kamali`i could not have happened without the support and commitment of many people," Santos said. "This is a true example of the overwhelmingly positive results that can occur when individuals, businesses, and local government come together with one goal in mind – to help children in need."
Ho`omalu O Na Kamali`i is a joint public-private success story. The State provided the land, adjacent to the State's Ulu Ke Kukui temporary housing development that offers transitional housing for the Leeward Coast homeless. Hawaii Self Storage Owner and FPH Board Member Mike Wood donated $1 million to the State in August 2007 to kick-start the project. The Michael B. Wood family donated another $200,000 for furnishings, fixtures and equipment and has pledged another $8 million over the next 20 years, at $400,000 a year, to assist in operating costs of Ho'omalu O Na Kamali`i.
Santos continued by saying, "We are forever grateful to Mike and the Michael B. Wood family for their extreme generosity and commitment to the future of Ho`omalu O Na Kamali`i, and we encourage others to follow in their footsteps. There are so many ways to get involved. Obviously monetary gifts are always welcome but ongoing support is also welcome through volunteer hours as well as in-kind donations."
Located in Ma`ili on Oahu's Leeward Coast, Ho‘omalu O Na Kamali‘i is a secure and temporary place where individual children and brothers and sisters can stay together while State Child Welfare Services (CWS) social workers investigate their home situation due to reports of alleged child abuse or neglect. On any given day in Hawaii, 1,500 children are in foster care due to confirmed child abuse or neglect, which is almost half the number in 2005, according to the State Department of Human Services (DHS).
When children are removed from their family homes for safety reasons, CWS social workers call ahead to Ho‘omalu O Na Kamali‘i. Staff and volunteers, available 24 hours a day, prepare a room for the kids, complete with everything from clothes and bedding to toothpaste and toiletries. While at the home, children receive a medical evaluation within the first 24 hours of arriving at the facility, in accordance with DHS Administrative Rules, as well as a comprehensive assessment to help CWS social workers and the children's families plan for them.
Additional funding and support has come from individuals, businesses and even a middle school that donated substantial gifts to sponsor rooms and a playground and sports court. Stanford Carr Development donated the construction cost of the home. Currently a Brick Campaign continues and for $200, donors can have their name inscribed on a brick that is installed in the patio of the home. Meanwhile there are still 8 bedrooms that can be purchased for naming rights for $10,000 each.
For more information on Family Programs Hawaii and Ho‘omalu O Na Kamali‘i, visit www.FamilyProgramsHawaii.org.
Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.