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DHS News Release: DHS Shares Family First Hawai‘i 2021 Accomplishments

Posted on Mar 1, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – The State of Hawaiʻi Department of Human Services (DHS) Social Services Division (SSD) Child Welfare Services (CWS) Branch is honored to share the Family First Hawai‘i (FFH) 2021 Accomplishments 


The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) provides Hawaiʻi the opportunity to leverage federal Title IV-E funding for prevention services with the goal of keeping children safe at home with their families.  The Family First Prevention Services Act Plan: Family First Hawaiʻi, Keeping Families Together, was approved by DHS’s federal partner agency, Administration for Children and Families.  


Hawaiʻi was the first state in Region 9 to receive approval of the plan. Click here to view the Family First Prevention Services Act Plan.


The approved FFH plan provides CWS with the framework and pathway to dramatically reform how we serve children and families and expands resources with the ultimate goal of preventing children from entering foster care by providing family strengthening services to keep families safely together.  


This accomplishment is a result of extensive planning, design, and implementation that began in October 2019. The collaboration with other state departments, private and community service providers, advocates, legislators, the legal community and those with lived expertise in the foster care and child welfare system made this final plan possible. 


CWS is pleased to share our Family First Hawai‘i Pū‘olo Metaphor video.  This video provides an overview of the concepts that created the Family First Hawaiʻi initiative.  


Please click on the video links below to view full 11-minute video or the 5-minute shortened version.  


Pū‘olo Metaphor video (full video) 


Pū‘olo Metaphor video (short version) 


Our collective goal is to keep children and families at the center of our practice by weaving in culture and values that our families in Hawaiʻi embrace. To build stronger connections throughout the community, a metaphor/story/moʻolelo was created to share the message of keeping families together.  


Each piece of our metaphor is important and plays a significant role to the success of this systemic shift in not only how we do our work, but why we do our work, and who benefits from the work we do.  CWS developed and customized the video depicting the efforts of FFH in a culturally sensitive approach to address the disproportionate number of Native Hawaiians served by the child welfare system. 


Children identifying as native Hawaiians and/or Pacific Islanders who are investigated by CWS are found to be victims of neglect or abuse at a higher rate than other racial groups. Specifically, at a rate near to twice as high as children who are White.   


CWS created this video as a way to communicate with staff and families about the importance of keeping families together, the tagline of the FFH initiative. National foundation, Casey Family Programs, CWS staff, local cultural experts from EPIC ʻOhana, Inc. – Nā Kama a Hāloa created the video in partnership with one another. 


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Media Contact:
Amanda Stevens 

Public Information Officer  

Department of Human Services 

(808) 586-4892 

[email protected]