Hawai’i ‘Ohana Project
Wai’anae Coast and Leeward Oahu, Hawaii
September and November, 1994
The goal behind the development of the system of care is a vision of providing a community-based continuum of services utilizing the strengths of the family and community to all Waianae Coast Children with serious emotional disturbances. The Project has eight goals related to the development, coordination, and implementation of the system of care and the provision of services. Included are goals to strengthen the fiscal structure of the system by exploring and obtaining alternative funding sources, develop policies and procedures promoting family/professional partnerships, develop and implement training programs for caregivers, provide public agency services specified in interagency agreements, and evaluate and disseminate information on the progress of the system.
Originally, the target population for the ‘Ohana Project included children ages 0 to 18 (to age 20 if in special education) who had serious emotional disorders and were involved with multiple agencies. However, those criteria were narrowed by the Felix Consent Decree during the third year of grant funding. Under the decree, only children ages 3 to 21 with a mainstream class with special support or a special education class designation are eligible for services. Consequently, children whose emotional problems have not affected their academic functioning are no longer eligible for mental health services from the State. The ‘Ohana Project, however, through the CMHS grant continues to provide services to those children in its catchment area. There has been a dramatic increase (from roughly 400 to 1,000 in the catchment area and from 1,200 to 1,400 statewide) in the number of children identified as needing services. As of June 1998, the ‘Ohana Project had served 850 children and families, 378 through the Wai‘anae Coast site and 472 through the Leeward O‘ahu site. 69 percent of the children served by the ‘Ohana Project were boys, and the mean age was 12 years old. The children served through ‘Ohana are racially and ethnically diverse: 50 percent Hawai‘ian, 22 percent Caucasian, 17 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 4 percent African American, 4 percent Hispanic, 3 percent of mixed background.