Star-Advertiser: ‘Hawaiians at Risk’ Part 1 & 2

Updated 1/11/16
Excerpts from Rob Perez’s “Hawaiians at Risk: Keiki Locked in Cycle of Foster Care System” Part 1
Star-Advertiser, 10 Jan. 2016
Read the full article here.

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.  Continue reading