Less foster kids in Hawaii

Lillian Koller
Lillian Koller

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - The number of Hawaii children in foster care is at its lowest in more than a decade.

It's a new approach that keeps families together, whether it's at a park or at home.

It's another beautiful Sunday afternoon at the park for many parents and children in Hawaii.

The Department of Human Services hopes it stays that way, especially after the recent encouraging news about foster kids.

"We're serious about our children being safe, about families being intact, we need to identify their risks early and intervene with appropriate services, it took an investment of money and talent," Department of Human Services director Lillian Koller said.

It took a web-based system aimed at tackling the problem before it even happens. But more importantly, officials decided to approach every case differently.

But it wasn't always that way.

"Nobody was actually going out in any systematic way to check and see if our workers actually were doing what our policies and procedures said they were supposed to do. we had no quality assurance system," Koller said.

But the new system has worked for non-profits, like Foster Family Programs of Hawaii.

"The children of Hawaii now have better opportunities to remain in their families with the assistance of a social service system that believes, whenever possible, children should be raised in their own families," Foster Family Programs of Hawaii president Linda Santos said.

A family-first approach. A distant memory from the way things were years ago.

Officials came up with the system by looking at successful ones in other states, including New Mexico.

They also worked with Maui Community College students and teachers to come up with the web-based technology.