From Hawaii KIDS COUNT

Since its creation 25 years ago, the Keiki Caucus – a bipartisan group of legislators joined by child advocates, service providers and others – has developed initiatives to address a variety of issues affecting Hawaii children and youth.

Issues related to the well-being of Hawaii children and youth are identified and discussed during the annual Children and Youth Summit; legislative measures are then developed and further refined by individual legislators. The 2015 Keiki Caucus legislative package focuses on child safety and well-being, education, early intervention and health. Some of the Keiki Caucus bills to follow include:

SB979 and HB395, which require the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a five-year pilot program to establish a network of safe places where youth in crisis can access safety and services.

SB865 SD1, which requires educational institutions and all youth-serving agencies to create and implement anti-bullying policies and prevention programs for youth.

SB981, which appropriates funds to continue the administration of the home visiting program, a hospital-based early identification designed to enhance health and safety outcomes and prevent child abuse and neglect, with a focus on priority high-risk neighborhoods.

SB977, which appropriates funds to raise awareness of mental health issues and to provide mental health training for public school administrators, teachers and other school personnel.

Another important measure is SB844 SD1, which establishes a high-quality pre-kindergarten program – administered by the Executive Office on Early Learning, which may partner with the Department of Education – and appropriates funding for the program.

These are just some of the measures being introduced this year. Click HERE to view more details about the Keiki Caucus package.

Once a measure has been scheduled for public hearing and notice is given, the public is invited to submit testimony. Letters can be submitted to the chair or committee clerk expressing support of or opposition to the bill. Testimony can also be submitted through the Hawaii State Legislature's website (http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/) where you can create an account to receive hearing notices by email, create personalized measure tracking lists and submit testimony electronically.

 

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