Hawaiians at risk: Keiki locked in cycle of foster care system
  • Tuesday, November 13, 2018
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Hawaii News

Hawaiians at risk: Keiki locked in cycle of foster care system

  • COURTESY OIWI TV
  • KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Eunice Mershon, top left, meets her daughter, Robbie, after school at Living Way Church in Wailuku, where Robbie participates in a tutoring program.

  • KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Maui resident Eunice Mershon, embraces her 13-year-old daughter, Robbie. Robbie and her two brothers were removed from their mother’s care by the state last year was Mershon struggled with crystal meth and homelessness. Mershon — who says she has been sober since her children were removed in March — was reunited with Robbie in July; she and husband Robert are now trying to get their sons back as well.

  • KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Above, Robbie is flanked by pals Jehnaiah Kaahumanu Hoopai, left, and Shanalee Mollena as she heads to tutoring.

  • KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Mershon talks with George Hoopai about the difficulties of parenting after arguing with her daughter at Living Way Church. Both Mershon and Hoopai have had their children placed in the foster care system.

  • KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Eunice Mershon meets with David Cacpal, her case manager at Child and Family Service.

  • KRYSTLE MARCELLUS / KMARCELLUS@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Maui resident George Hoopai with his daughter, Jehnaiah Kaahumanu Hoopai, at Living Way Church in Wailuku. Hoopai’s two children have spent time in foster care and are now living with relatives.

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It’s a problem that has long defied a solution.

For years the percentage of Native Hawaiians in the state’s foster care system has significantly topped the percentage of Hawaiians in the overall population of children statewide.

Those with Hawaiian blood make up half the roughly 2,300 children who have been removed from their families because of abuse and neglect concerns and currently are in foster care. Yet Hawaiians comprise only a third of the statewide population of minors.

No one knows for sure why Hawaiians persistently have been overrepresented in the foster system, though the disproportionality mirrors the portrait of Hawaiians in other negative socioeconomic indicators, such as higher adult incarceration and juvenile arrest rates and lower education and employment levels.

Some say poverty — Hawaiians are overrepresented in that area as well — is at the root of the problem.

“If we were to wipe out poverty, we would reduce those numbers,” Susan Chandler, a professor with the University of Hawaii’s College of Social Sciences, said of the foster care disproportionality. Chandler also is a former director of the Department of Human Services, which oversees the child welfare system.

Others, including some Hawaiians, say bias plays a major role, particularly when considering how Hawaiian children fare once in foster care.

Over each of the past five fiscal years, Hawaiians remained in foster care longer than the average time for all children and were reunified with their families at substantially lower rates than non-Hawaiians, according to DHS data.

Hawaiians also aged out of the system at a greater rate than non-Hawaiians, meaning they reached adult age and left foster care without being reunited with their families or permanently placed with other ones. Aging out is considered the least desirable outcome for a foster child.

Though the disproportionate number of Hawaiians in the state’s foster population and the disparity in outcomes have persisted for years, the state has made little progress in improving the percentages.

Experts say the statistics indicate a problem — but not why there’s a problem. The causes likely are varied and complex, they add.

“Disproportionality is much like having a fire alarm go off,” said Jesse Russell, chief program officer for the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. “It means that something is happening that shouldn’t be happening. Your goal should be figuring out where the fire is and then putting the fire out.”

DHS officials say they are trying to do that.

They acknowledge that the data show Hawaiians are overrepresented. But they caution that the numbers might overstate the problem and that the underlying reasons could reflect “much broader societal issues,” such as access to resources, that DHS has no control over.

“Everyone is concerned about it, trying to figure out what the causes are and what we can do,” said Rachel Thorburn, acting program development administrator for Child Welfare Services, the arm of DHS that oversees the foster system. “But it’s really hard … because it’s a complex problem.”

Search for solutions

Little research has been published on the reasons behind the long history of overrepresentation among Hawaiians in the foster system.

But service providers, advocates, scholars and others increasingly say more culturally appropriate responses are needed, given that more mainstream, Western-oriented strategies have shown little success in reducing the disproportionality.

With that in mind, the state and nonprofit organizations in recent years have launched several initiatives that use Hawaiian cultural values and practices to try to help strengthen families. While some programs have shown promise anecdotally, their long-term effects remain unclear.

The heightened focus on cultural values similarly is being used to address the overrepresentation of Hawaiians in the juvenile justice system, where, according to a 2012 study, they are more likely to be arrested than any other ethnic group. The study, authored by Karen Umemoto, a UH professor with the College of Social Sciences, and three colleagues, found patterns of disparate treatment of Hawaiians that were similar to a major analysis of the juvenile justice system 15 years earlier.

The studies mentioned the typical factors, such as drug use, child abuse and economic hardship, that contribute to youth getting into trouble. But for Hawaiians two additional reasons were cited: political disenfranchisement and the erosion of strong family authority after colonization.

Even as cultural approaches are gaining traction, DHS is continuing to gather and analyze data to better understand the underlying causes of overrepresentation.

“We are not certain that there is bias in our system,” Thorburn told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “If there is, we want to address it, and we do want to respond to all potential issues and support every family and every child in their culture and provide culturally enriched and embracing programs. We’re going to do that regardless of whether or not the problem of disproportionality is ours.”

The efforts by the state and nonprofits have come as disproportionality nationally has received more attention, especially over the past decade, fueled by research showing significant overrepresentation among blacks and Native Americans.

Suspicion of bias

The local initiatives also have come amid heightened political activism by Native Hawaiians, who are tackling high-profile, hot-button issues such as sovereignty and protecting cultural grounds from development.

In interviews with more than a dozen Hawaiian parents who have had children in the foster system, they spoke of a widespread perception among Hawaiians that the system is biased. If everything else is equal, DHS social workers and other decision-makers are more likely to push for removing Hawaiian children from their homes than non-Hawaiians, the parents told the Star-Advertiser.

“That’s a very common belief,” said Maui resident Eunice Mershon, whose three children were removed by the state last year as she was dealing with a crystal meth problem and homelessness.

“I was on the front lines; I was in the ring seeing that happen,” agreed Maui resident George Hoopai, 46, whose two children spent time in foster care and are now living with relatives.

Mershon, who entered a residential drug treatment program, said she has been sober since the state removed her two sons, 9 and 15, and then-12-year-old daughter in March. She was reunited with the girl in July, and Mershon and her husband, Robert, are trying to get their sons back as well.

The parents who spoke to the newspaper acknowledged that they were not blameless. They said their poor choices, such as drug use, contributed to the state’s decision to take custody of their children.

But their long-held suspicions of bias received a boost several years ago after Meripa Godinet, a UH faculty member, and two other researchers published a report based on an examination of DHS data from 2004 and 2005. Godinet, an associate professor in UH’s Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, and her co-authors concluded in their December 2011 study that Hawaiians were at a disadvantage in their interactions with the child welfare system.

They found that although Hawaiians were more frequently removed from their homes because of neglect — compared with non-Hawaiians, who had higher rates of physical abuse — the Hawaiians were less likely to be reunified with their families.

They also determined that being Hawaiian predicted a greater length of time in the foster system, more frequent movement from home to home and greater risk of re-entering the system.

Godinet told the Star-Advertiser that she was surprised the state hasn’t made more progress tackling the disparity problem. “It’s deeper than just what we see on the surface,” she said. “There’s a lot more that needs to be addressed.”

Poverty’s burden

National studies have shown poverty plays a key role in overrepresentation, though some experts caution that unique factors involving Hawaii’s indigenous people might obscure the picture here.

Researchers generally have found a strong relationship between low-income households and child maltreatment. The studies also have shown that the reporting of maltreatment is much more likely to occur for children in poverty compared with those from higher-income households.

Poor families tend to rely on more public services, such as food stamps and Medicaid, that bring them in contact with workers who are required to report signs of abuse or neglect, creating more opportunities for such reporting. Wealthier families, the researchers say, have fewer such contacts, and when questions of abuse arise, the parents usually have the resources to pay for services like counseling that can help keep their children out of the system.

In Hawaii, 18 percent of Native Hawaiian families with children live in poverty, compared with 12 percent of all families with children statewide, according to census data.

Since 2005 the percentage of Hawaiians in foster care has averaged 48 percent annually. In fiscal year 2015 about 1,100 of the 2,321 children — or 48.4 percent — were Hawaiian. By contrast, about 104,000 of the nearly 306,000 children living in the islands — 34 percent — are Hawaiian, according to census statistics.

Not all the data on Hawaiians reflect negative trends.

The average length of stay for Hawaiians in foster care, for example, dropped 22 percent over the past five fiscal years, though at nearly 17 months it is still higher than the 15-month average for non-Hawaiians.

Additionally, 20 percent of Hawaiian foster children were adopted over those five years, compared with 14 percent for non-Hawaiians.

Tracing roots of crisis

Cultural practitioners and others say Hawaii’s overrepresentation problem must be viewed through the lens of history — the same perspective that is essential to understanding the overrepresentation of Hawaiians in prison, the juvenile justice system, homelessness, poverty and other socioeconomic indicators.

As the islands were settled by outsiders, Hawaiians were exploited and displaced from their lands, and their culture was denigrated and marginalized, according to the practitioners.

Such marginalization, they said, led to a fraying of Hawaiian cultural values over successive generations, undermining a sense of identity and eventually creating the need for government services where none existed before.

Prior to the establishment of a government foster system, the Hawaiian ohana, or extended family, typically cared for children when the birth parents were unable to do so. Kupuna (elders) in their 80s and 90s say there was no need for such things as foster homes or homeless shelters when they were growing up.

“Everything historically was done in and through the family,” said Jan Hanohano Dill, president of Partners in Development Foundation, which runs culture-based programs to assist the Hawaiian community. “That has broken down, and even though we have kind of a vestigial extended-family system, it’s not as powerful as before.”

DHS officials cite multiple efforts the agency has undertaken to ensure its actions are culturally appropriate and have resulted in a reduction in the number of Hawaiians entering foster care. The latter has mirrored a dramatic decline in the past decade in the overall foster population in Hawaii.

DHS workers also have undergone training to better understand the Hawaiian culture, and later this year the department plans to hold aha, or gatherings, in Hawaiian communities around the state to discuss ideas about improving the system. The agency held similar meetings in Hawaiian communities in 2010.

Helping the agency’s efforts, the child welfare staff has a greater percentage of Hawaiians (25 percent) than in the overall state population (21 percent), according to DHS officials and census data.

“We want to make sure our workforce ideally is reflective of the people we’re serving and can help inform a response,” DHS’ Thornburn said. “We’re conscious of that and see that as a strength.”

For Mershon, the Maui mother, staff makeup is not a concern. She has her sights set on one thing: reuniting the rest of her family.

“That would be better than a pot of gold,” she said.

____________

Rob Perez reported this project with the support of the Fund for Journalism on Child Well-Being and the National Health Journalism Fellowship. Both are programs of the Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism.

This project also was done in collaboration with Oiwi TV, the Native Hawaiian-owned and operated media outlet that tells stories from a Hawaiian perspective. For more video, see http://oiwi.tv/culture/keiki-hawaii-foster-care/

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  • The problem is no different in other underserved and indigenous families who are faced with low incomes and extended families. We need to collectively solve this generational problem on-step-at-time.

  • Start with the Hawaiian Homes Commission. We, the State of Hawaii, separates our citizens by race. It’s a government policy that created the human problem for native and Native Hawaiians.

    • As a scholar I cringe whenever I see these claims that Native Hawaiians have the worst statistics, or are overrepresented, in such things as drug abuse, heart disease, diabetes, poverty, incarceration, and being stuck in the foster care system.

      I keep repeating two very obvious points, and I wish Rob Perez had taken account of them in gathering data and asking questions.

      1. The counting of races is very different for “Native Hawaiians” than for any other racial group. Whenever someone has even a small percentage of Hawaiian ancestry, he gets counted as “Native Hawaiian” — and ONLY as Native Hawaiian. That’s absurd. Nearly every so-called “Native Hawaiian” is of mixed race, and in most cases the other components of their heritage are at higher percentage than the Hawaiian component. If someone is 1/2 Chinese, 1/4 Filipino, 1/8 Hawaiian, and 1/8 Irish, he gets counted as Native Hawaiian when he should (also or primarily) be counted as Chinese, Filipino, Irish. That’s the obvious reason why “Native Hawaiians” seem to have the worst statistics — because we refuse to count them as belonging also to the other racial groups in their genealogy, even when the other group is the BIGGEST ONE in their percentages. Why does this happen? Because it’s “politically incorrect” to ask a “Native Hawaiian” for his other ancestries and especially for his percentages of pedigree; and because researchers simply don’t want to be bothered with the hard work of gathering the percentages and calculating the statistics in a mathematically accurate way. There’s also no money or social status to be gotten for being mathematically correct — government and philanthropic charities don’t give grants to study the victimhood of Irish or Chinese — only grants for studying “Native Hawaiian.”

      2. There’s a 16 year age gap between “Native Hawaiians” and everyone else in Hawaii. According to Census 2010, the median age for “Native Hawaiian is 26, whereas the median age for the population of Hawaii is 39, which means that if you statistically remove “Native Hawaiian” from the overall population then the median age for everyone in Hawaii who is NOT “native Hawaiian” is 42. That age gap is HUGE. Some bad things happen mostly to young people, such as abusing drugs, committing crimes (especially crimes of violence deserving longer jail sentences), and placed into foster care because they are being removed from parents who are abusive or druggies etc. It’s not that “Native Hawaiians” are more bad than other groups, it’s because they are extremely young compared with other groups. Statistical comparison of racial groups for things like drug abuse, incarceration, and foster care should be done only within age cohorts — compare 19-24 year-old Hawaiians against 19-24 year-old Filipinos or Caucasians.

      Rob Perez begins today’s article with these two sentences: “It’s a problem that has long defied a solution. For years the percentage of Native Hawaiians in the state’s foster care system has significantly topped the percentage of Hawaiians in the overall population of children statewide.” I have the solution. Learn how to count! Treat the races equally in the way you count who belongs to which group — classify a child as a member of whichever racial group is the largest percentage of his ancestry (or more accurately — allocate a fraction of a tally mark to each race that is the same as the fraction of that race in his ancestry), and compare only children who are close together in age.

      • I haves aid much the same regarding how we count “races.” That said, it would be nice if the Hawaiin community would address this disparity with an eye toward greater familial responsibility and accountability. Most Hawaiians are thriving but too many are not. Maybe the ones thriving can help those who are not to seize the opportunities to do better.

        • I see this problem different than the Black Community in the States. There’s a lot of well-to-do Black Americans who could help it’s poor inner city kids. I seem to hear or just notice but it may not be true that a those mom and pops are run by imports. Why can’t the well-to-do help them get their own small store up and running? I believe it has to do a lot with DRUGS! That’s the main problem of why this is happening

      • I just went to the DHS website and looked at the chart for child maltreatment by nationality. All the categories that you mentioned (Filipino, Chinese, etc) and many more are listed separately. If there is an error is how the agency reports, that should be brought to the attention of those who report the data.

      • Ken, you’re absolutely correct! It’s a numbers game. Rachel said there’s there’s a 25% representation of Hawaiians in the CWS staff. In my work unit of 12 members, there are three part-Hawaiians(25%), But there’s also six part or full Caucasians(50%), five part or full Filipino/Hispanics(42%), two part Chinese(17%), two part-Japanese(17%) and one Samoan coworker(9%). Add up the people;Rob Perez would count 19 representatives of nationalities. However, there are only 12 people in my work group, and I represented four nationalities.

      • Ken, fully agree with your post. The exact same is true for the mis-information on high incarceration rate of “Native” Hawaiians in Hawaii’s criminal justice system. Chairing the Federal hearing provided a lot of insight into Hawaii’s challenges. Again, mahalo.

      • Conklin, you need to read past the first two lines. In the third line, Perez clearly qualifies “Native Hawaiians” as “those with Hawaiian blood.” You’re also arguing off topic. The topic is “those with Hawaiian blood.” Thus, the statistics refer to this population. IF the topic were “those with Caucasian blood,” then subjects in this population would have their other non-Caucasian bloods ignored, too.

        • Well my adopted “Hawaiian blood” child of 10 years is allegedly 1/4 Hawaiian per birth certificate. Was this determined by a genetic blood test? No, actually the crack addicted birth mom gave information to the hospital of record. 1/4 hawaiian, 1/4 Chinese, 1/2 white european. A beautiful way to scam the the entitlement welfare system of our great State claiming Hawaiian ancestry. This must be important because the public school system inquirers many times on many forms regarding this. True Native Hawaiians get bastardized by this method of census. Ask my adopted child their ethnicity…….Hawaiian will be the first words out of their mouth. Even the young ones learn quickly regarding this. Conklin is absolutely correct with his math.

          The story paints a picture to make one feel sympathetic towards the parents who had children removed from their care for neglect, abuse and drug addiction. Painting a picture of being “sick” is so far away from the truth. It is actually selfishness, sin, no shame or remorse. These poor parenting traits do not recognize any ethnicity immune or special. What the article really points out is how ineffective the child protective services are. Ninety seconds is what I would need to determine if a family situation was safe for a child or not.

      • The lower median age for HawIians underscores the fact that as a group they have children when they are very young and they tend to have many, — just look at article about Simeon U’u.

      • Whatever the age of the Hawaiians are, they act like a second childhood of a five year old. Grow up Hawaiian adults. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Move on with your life. Don’t live your life staring at the rear view mirror.

  • Too busy arguing about UH football coaches and game results, and protesting the super ferry, telescopes, etc. because of baseless “sacred” mishmash, while their children fall through the cracks in school and in life. Whereas, they should be promoting super ferry, telescopes, school performance, extracurricular activities, and other “real” things to enrich the lives of their children’s lives in social, education, and economic endeavors. Parents have to help their children. Extended family and neighbors should be involved, also. Look out and help each other. If there is a drug problem, confront it, help it, and stop it. Welcome assistance from whomever, and whenever, a need or crisis arises. Stop being ignorant. Stop with the nonsense protests and other distractions, and let progress happen, the children depend on it. If you have children, they are the most, and only, sacred things in your life. Treat them so. Give them attention, help, hope, and love.

  • “Prior to the establishment of a government foster system, the Hawaiian ohana, or extended family, typically cared for children when the birth parents were unable to do so. Kupuna (elders) in their 80s and 90s say there was no need for such things as foster homes or homeless shelters when they were growing up.” Therein lies one of the major problems. When DHS does searches in the extended family for members to care for the foster children, many of the adults in the clan are disqualified because of major criminal issues. Sex abuse(incest, rape, sexual assault, active prostitution) involving adults and especially children are major reasons for potential foster/adoptive parents to be blackballed. Assailants, ex-convicts and murderers may be considered, but drug abusers are disqualified. Sometimes in an entire clan, there is NO ONE!!! qualified by State law to care for the keiki. Some family members do qualify, but for personal or economic reasons, they choose not to take in the kids. In this day and age, it is extremely difficult to take in more children AND!!! their emotional baggage. My wife’s cousin had to give up her grandkids because the State discovered that her husband had previously molested their mother. When my wife refused to “hanai” the 7yo and 2yo, that family never spoke to us again. Go figure. Back in the day, when parents were forced to give away their children, they “looked the other way” when they placed their loved ones in the care of families which included abusers and sexual predators. Even to this day, there are deviantly sick teenage cousins, uncles and even elderly grandfathers who think nothing of sexually abusing their innocent young relatives. Yes, back in the day, the desperate young parents “looked the other way”. That’s how many families survived without foster care and homeless shelters.

    • The old Hawaiian days before Christianity must have been brutal. There was probably a foster care system/hanai for children whose parents died prematurely from war or disease. There was also an extremely strict form of birth control. The people were ordered when and when not to have children. Unwanted/unplanned or handicapped children were euthanized. Adults who didn’t care for their families or their communities were harshly punished or executed. No such thing as abusing substance or not being a productive member of society. It might seem barbaric now, but with limited resources and strict control, the kingdoms were able to care for hundreds of thousands of people before foreign trade was implemented.

      • Hawaii was the 5th state to legalize abortion. Now we have a much more effective way to control family size.

        The old Hawaiian days before missionaries the popular saying was”it is good to be king” It doesn’t seem barbaric it was. Being able to “care” for hundreds of thousands people with very few having rights or privileges for most is terrible. Even articles like this exposing a bad part of our society is still hundreds of thousands times better than being ruled by despot kings. Being free is a wonderful concept unknown to most of the old Hawaiian days.

  • “Experts say the statistics indicate a problem — but not why there’s a problem. The causes likely are varied and complex, they add.”

    Not so much: take a society, steal their land, outlaw their culture, introduce them to drugs and wonder why there’s a problem. Sounds more like genocide to me.

  • The one size fits all classification “Hawaiian” for purposes of qualifying to gain entrance to Kamehameha once upon a time, and for establishing sovereign rights is okay no matter the percentage of blood lines but then for statistical purposes should be separated? Remember we are establishing qualification for entitlements! Unless of course the individual prefers to select another ethnic group. A dilemma for sure! The pros and cons are many and do not address the issue, what is causation why this ethnic group has a propensity to moral ineptitude. Cultural influences? What is this cultural background. Is this cultural belief alien to to excepted norm. Where, what and why are there any difference? Most established religions all have similar values and share something in common. What makes the them different? Is something inherently lacking in the Hawaiian culture that can be isolated. All societies have poverty in some manner or form. Is one ethnic group more easily corrupted by outside forces that are alien to their culture and are there a mechanism to overcome them as the established group have. There will always be individual who live on the fringes, no matter their cultural background. That’s human nature.

  • Bringing a child into the world is a huge responsibility. When a couple can afford and know they can love and care for a child, only then should they have that child. Each child deserves to be loved and given direction, encouragement and education that will carry that child to adulthood with credentials and a moral base.

  • I grew up on a neighbor island and my classmates were of all races: white, black, part-Hawaiian, asian, whatever. Part-Hawaiians were in my classes; I sat next to them. We all had the same teachers, books, assignments, and opportunities. We were equal, and we all had equal chances to do or not do what we chose. High school for me was a long time ago, but I still can’t understand why part-Hawaiians fall behind, are lower on the socio-economic scale, have higher rates of criminality, etc. Mr. Conklin’s good post does explain some of it. But still, all of us growing up had the chance to progress and move forward. Some of us really applied ourselves and some just wallowed in mediocrity. In my opinion (and yes, it’s just my opinion), it’s not about a race of people being unfairly maligned or withheld from opportunity. It’s just a mindset of not trying hard to excel because of a feeling that one is “owed”.

    • btaim, you and I might be from different generations, but I also grew up on the neighbor island. I remember this experience. Out of the 20 brightest students in 8th grade public school, one girl, another boy and I were the only part-Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese students. Each morning, our class of “smart kids” were dispatched to the other classrooms to reiterate the school rules(“No swearing, because”, “No short cuts thru the hedges, because”). The “C”, “D” & “Adjustment” classes were filled with Native Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese kids. Their teachers used me as an aspiring model to motivate them. “Be like RW. Be smart like him”. None of them could relate to me. I might’ve looked Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese, but I had Chinese and Japanese blood in me. I was not raised “Hawaiian style”. My Chinese grandfather had been a very successful businessman. My Japanese grandfather owned real estate properties, a store and a farm. That was very rare back then. My parents weren’t rich though, just middle-class, while most Native Hawaiians/non Haole/non Japanese were low-income or in poverty. As a kid, I just knew that I was going to do well, live well, and not have a whole bunch of kids. How did I know that? Because I had a Japanese last name, which would open a lot of doors/windows of opportunity for me in life.(Yep, local prejudice). In my opinion, Hawaiians/non Haole/non Japanese were always unfairly maligned and withheld from opportunity. They were put down and discriminated against intensely, back then. The art of hula was very much frowned upon. My mother was part-Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese, but proud to be Chinese. My Japanese father forced her to give up her Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese culture. Children being Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese effected a mindset of not trying hard to excel academically. There was a premonition that Hawaiians/non Haole/non Japanese would never amount to anything, or own anything. The discrimination was so intense. Hawaiians/non Haole/non Japanese kids were not being intellectually groomed or instilled confidence into. I rarely came across a “smart Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese kid” in my school years, and I NEVER EVER came across a Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese with a sense of entitlement. They just weren’t reassured as kids that if they behaved, gave it their best and worked hard, success would come to them. My good friend in “Adj” class is now a retired homeowner and manages his finances extremely well. All of my home boys married once, had successful careers, own homes and raised exactly three children. One friend’s sons went to jail. No one lost their kids to CPS. All my pals are Hawaiian/non Haole/non Japanese. I think the main reason our children did well is because WE as Baby Boomers encouraged them to do their best and led by example. We instilled confidence in them and attended their extracurricular activities. When the time came, we disciplined them and explained the reasons to them. As the Baby Boomer Hawaiians/non Haole/non Japanese grew up, many realized that we could achieve the American Dream by working hard, especially if their wives worked too. Alas, like other Boomers, we might’ve instilled a false sense of entitlement to their kids, forgetting to impress upon their children and grandchildren what hard work, sacrifice and determination garners. As the cost of living rose out of control, our disillusioned children turned to drugs and alcohol. In the downward spiral of their lives, their children were lost to foster care. Terribly sad.

    • Go to: hawaii.gov/DHS, then find Child Welfare Services, the division of the Department of Human Services that is child protection. Click on REPORTS on the top links of the home page. Click on Annual Child Abuse and Neglect Reports. Scroll down until you find the chart on child maltreatment by ethnicity.

  • I come from the perspective that there are too many children in foster care in Hawaii. How many of you know what criteria are used to remove a child to foster care? You can research that, but in the end, confidentiality law stops the public from knowing what circumstances really existed prior to removal. Studies will show that children from foster care generally do not have a good outcome; family preservation is the ideal solution to family issues. Child removal is a police action; child welfare services should focus upon social services to prevent what I call incarceration of children. That is not to say that there are not circumstances that require removal. I’m quite convinced that CWS uses removal as a matter of convenience and lack of oversight. Check this video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c15hy8dXSps

  • The trends that no one dare speaks of is that certain ethnicities and their cultures do not have core values that align with those of American/Western core values. The cultures that adopt a trajectory that that most closely approximates that of the Western culture in which they reside tend to achieve the best whereas those which fail to correlate well tend to suffer the most into perpetuity. Look at how Latino culture in the U.S. is rapidly assimilating American/Western values, and look at how Latino culture is breaking away from the bottom pack and making true strides in just this past generation. It takes 3 to 4 full generations to fully assimilate. Hawaiian, other Polynesian, Native American and American-African cultures have chosen to stagnate within their own cultures instead of progressing. This deliberate choice has led these cultures to trail behind other cultures who have instead embraced American/Western values in which they reside.

    • Hawaii failing its children is a sure sign of a lack of leadership from the top. We rather fail our kids, then support them on welfare for life, than facilitate our kids to be self sufficient as adults.

  • Wed like to have our twins back. But they don’t want to give them back. They get paid $2000 for both twins. Thas good money. If they give them back they lose their paycheck. I’ve asked many times to be reunited with my twins, and each time denied. I wonder why? I’m not a drug addict or an alcholic. What’s with these people? Now they say time is on their side. My twins are now 13 years old. I can’t get em back. For every year they have my twins, I’ll be asking a a year to put those people in jail. And I rely on God’s vengeance and wrath for what they did to me and my twins.

  • Keep in mind that no one seems to care that your taxpayers dollars over $200,000 has been paid to these people to take care of my kids. This is outrage, and I’ve been asking for my twins to be reunited many times. Always denied.

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