Children’s health, safety and education among the measures included in package of bills
Expanding the eligibility age for children to attend the preschool open doors program, support for teacher training on social and emotional learning, and funding to establish an after-school program for public middle and intermediate schools are just some of the measures included in this year’s Keiki Caucus Legislative Package.
“These bills and resolutions address a variety of issues that assure Hawai‘i’s children and their families are happy, healthy and ready to learn and to succeed,” said Sen. Rhoads (S Dist. 13 - Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Palama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown). “The work we do together as a caucus is an investment in our future.”
Sen. Rhoads and Rep. LoPresti are this year’s co-conveners of the Keiki Caucus. Keiki Caucus is a bipartisan group of House and Senate members and is supported by dozens of community advocates. Since 1994, the Keiki Caucus has been working with the community to develop proposals and initiatives that address the health and well-being of Hawai‘i’s youth.
“There is nothing more important in Hawaii than our keiki. As lawmakers, we need to do everything we can to protect and educate them,” said Rep. LoPresti (H Dist. 41 -‘Ewa, ‘Ewa Beach, ‘Ewa Gentry, ‘Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe). “This proposed legislation is thoughtful and proactive in reaching that goal. It's never too early for social and emotional learning and anti-bullying education for our keiki – especially when children may be confused by current online rhetoric. They need better role models and we in the legislature can provide support to provide anti-bullying education this legislative session.”
The Senate and House bills and resolutions submitted by the Keiki Caucus for the 2017 session include:
Expands the qualifying age for the preschool open doors program to children four years old and younger.
Appropriates funds for the P4C Program of the University of Hawai‘i Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education and for teachers of the Department of Education to train with the P4C Program.
Requires the Department of Education to provide training on social and emotional learning to all youth-serving educators, health care professionals and counselors, and agencies and programs, as well as parents of students enrolled in public schools or public charter schools. Appropriates funds to the Department of Education to conduct training on social and emotional learning.
Appropriates funds for staff positions and various services to support the Hawai‘i zero to three court.
SCR8/HCR11 ENCOURAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES MED-QUEST DIVISION TO IMPLEMENT AN INCOME DISREGARD PROGRAM FOR WORKERS WITH DISABILITIES
The Med-QUEST Division of the Department of Human Services is encouraged to implement an income disregard program that will enable workers with disabilities to seek or maintain employment, while also retaining necessary Medicaid benefits and supports.
SCR9/HCR9 URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO CARRY ON ITS WORK TO BETTER ENGAGE COMMUNITY GROUPS IN THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN HAWAII'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The Department of Education is urged to carry on its work to better engage community groups in the education of children and youth in Hawai‘i's public schools.
The Department of Education is requested to establish a Sexual Abuse Prevention Education Task Force.
SCR11/HCR10 ENCOURAGING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, AND JUDICIARY TO PERMANENTLY ESTABLISH AND ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION IN THE HAWAI‘I INTERAGENCY STATE YOUTH NETWORK OF CARE TO BETTER SERVE YOUTH AND FAMILIES WITH COMPLEX NEEDS IN THE STATE
The Department of Education, Department of Health and Department of Human Services are encouraged to form the Hawai‘i Interagency State Youth Network of Care (HISYNC) to increase collaboration among state agencies and to develop a system of care for children, youth and families.
SCR12/HCR7 URGING THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO EXAMINE THE APPLICATION PROCESS FOR THE PRESCHOOL OPEN DOORS PROGRAM TO ENSURE ACCESSIBILITY FOR ALL FAMILIES
The Department of Human Services (DHS) is urged to examine the application process for the preschool open doors program to ensure accessibility for all families. DHS is also encouraged to consider a paperless or other, cost-free application process that is accessible for all families.