Community Pages - Hawaii

News and Events:

Young People Identify Critical Issues and Recommendations

Learn more about the issues and recommendations identified by young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood in Hawai'i in 2012 here, or look back at the 2011 document here.

Video Shows Power of Hawai'i Youth Opportunities Initiative

The Hawai'i Youth Opportunities Initiative has released a powerful video describing their collaboration to help young people make successful transitions from foster care to adulthood. View the video here.

Hawai'i Expands Medicaid

Hawai'i HI H.O.P.E.S youth board member and Jim Casey Initiative Young Fellow Noy Worachit presented to the state legislature’s Keiki (Child) Caucus on the health care needs of young adults who have aged out of foster care at the legislature’s annual Children’s Summit. As a result, lawmakers introduced a bill to automatically extend Medicaid coverage for young people aging out of foster care to age 24 in 2012 and to age 26 by 2014. Both Noy and Jim Casey Initiative Young Fellow Gernani Yutob Jr. testified at the bill’s hearing. DHS Director Pat McManaman also testified in support of the bill and announced a plan to put the Medicaid extension into place administratively. "Prior to me presenting at the Keiki Caucus, the majority of the people there said they were not even aware of these issues that young people encounter upon transitioning out of foster care," writes Noy. Read Noy's full testimony here.

Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative Expands in Hawai'i

Learn more about the expansion here.

Hawai'i Launch in the Media

See coverage of the Hawai'i Youth Opportunities Initiative launch here.

Co-Investment Partners:

The Victoria S. and Bradley L. Geist Foundation, the Hawai'i Community Foundation, the Atherton Family Foundation, the McInerny Foundation, and the Department of Human Services. Epic 'Ohana is the lead agency for the Hawai'i Youth Opportunities Initiative.

EPIC 'Ohana began in Honolulu in 1996 as a collaborative effort by the Family Court, the Department of Human Services-Social Services Division and the Wai'anae community on the island of O'ahu.  'Ohana conferencing is a Polynesian model of problem solving developed by the Maori people in New Zealand to better address issues of child abuse and placement of children in foster care.  In 2004 EPIC also began offering E Makua Ana Youth Circles, a youth-driven, strength-based and solution-focused process that draws on a youth's support system to generate options and resources to support the youth's goals and informed decision making. In 2007 EPIC developed and implemented Family Findings and Family Connections services to find, engage, nurture and support family connections for children and youth in foster care.  EPIC 'Ohana provides services statewide, with staff on O'ahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawai'i Island.

Contact:  Laurie Tochiki, Executive Director   
EPIC 'Ohana, Inc.
1130 Nimitz Highway Ste. C-210
Honolulu, Hawai'i 98617


The Hawai'i Department of Human Services has received a federal Family Connections grant that will allow them to build on their strong tradition of 'Ohana (family) Conferencing by increasing family finding and connections to two new populations of children and youth.  The Early 'Ohana Connections will revisit family connections and permanency options for children and youth in long-term foster care who do not currently have permanent legal or emotional family connections.

EPIC has been instrumental in developing, piloting, and implementing 'Ohana Conference (1996), Youth Circles (2004), and Family Finding (2007).  Over the past 10 years, they have also trained both governmental and nonprofit agency staff in services that divert children and families from the courts, and assist families already in the court system. In 2009, they became the lead agency for the Hawai'i Youth Opportunities Initiative.


The Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative is a national initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.