More Volunteers Needed to Reunite Foster Kids - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

More Volunteers Needed to Reunite Foster Kids

Jaime Aana Jaime Aana
Judge R. Mark Rowling Judge R. Mark Rowling

HONOLULU (KHNL)- A volunteer program on Oahu helps reunite siblings who are separated while they are in foster care. It's called "Project Visitation".

Now a Kalihi woman tells us via a talk story E-mail about "Project Visitation". It needs more volunteers to help reunite Hawaii's keiki.

20 year old Jaime Aana is a parent now, still she can't help but think about missing her little brother Justice, who's been through the state's foster care system.

Aana said, "It's been almost four years since I've seen him."

All she has left of Justice is a few pictures of him before he was adopted. She was able to reunite with him while he was in foster care thanks to Project Visitation with Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii.

"Every time I tell my story about how project visitation changed my life and how volunteer legal services of hawaii was in this matter I feel a little bit of the closure that I need in my life", she added.

Aana is talking about Project Visitation's weekend outings. That's where volunteers unite brothers and sisters who are separated because of foster care. With so many children in each family most foster parents can only take one or two at the most, the other siblings end up in other foster homes.

Aana said, "This program is the glue or paste that brings the relationships together and it just repairs it for that moment."

But family court judge Mark Browning who helped start the Project Visitation Program says there just aren't enough resources or volunteers for all of Hawaii's foster kids. About 100 kids are participating now, but nearly 3,000 kids are in foster care.

"And it's a problem that we really have to try to resolve and that is what Project Visitation is trying to do to address that issue", said Judge Browning.

Now that her brother is adopted, Aana isn't allowed to see her brother. It's a choice his new adoptive parents have made as he starts his new life and his new family. Still, she treasures every moment she was able to spend with him through Project Visitation.

Aana is now encouraging more people to volunteer so more kids, "Every minute, every moment that you spend with these kids is so important its so necessary and just get out there and keep volunteering and keep doing it".

And someday she knows she'll be with Justice again.

For more information on Project Visitation and how you can volunteer or donate, log on to the Volunteer Legal Services of Hawaii website at www.vlsh.org Or you can call them at 528-7050

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