The State of Hawai‘i Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services Branch, conducted a five-year Demonstration on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island to reduce foster care entries and increase foster care exits. As a Demonstration state, the federal Children’s Bureau agreed to waive certain regulations, so that monies typically spent on foster care could instead be spent on innovative services to (1) prevent foster placement of children at risk of placement, and (2) help reunify or find permanent families for children who had been in foster care for at least nine months.

The Hawai‘i Child Welfare Services Branch implemented four new interventions on O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island. The two interventions aimed at preventing unnecessary foster placement were:

  • The Crisis Response Team, a two-hour response by a skilled assessment caseworker to high-risk maltreatment reports; and 
  • Intensive Home-Based Services, a four-to-six week intensive cognitive-behavioral skills-based intervention with families to learn new skills and acquire resources for safety and sufficiency.

The two interventions aimed at finding permanency for children in care at least nine months were:

  • Hawai‘i Family Wrap, a wraparound process that is family-centered and strengths based, that coordinates services and supports around children and families, with the goal of reunification, or the return of the child to the family.
  • Safety, Permanency, and Well-Being meetings, a facilitated meeting of professionals involved with a particular child or youth who appears unlikely to reunify, where those professionals can find creative solutions to help expedite permanency in an alternative family.

The Center on the Family serves as the independent evaluator of this Demonstration and is conducting a process evaluation, outcome evaluation, and cost analysis of the four interventions and their implementation on the two islands.

This project is funded by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Human Services. Collaborators include Hawai‘i Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services Branch.


For more information, please contact: 

Marianne Berry, PhD
Principal Investigator
(808) 956-9912

Dana Senaha, EdD
Project Manager
(808) 956-6608