Grantee’s probe of Hawaii’s child welfare system sparks legislation

The Hawaii legislature is considering several bills to protect the constitutional rights of parents suspected of abuse and neglect. The measures would dramatically narrow the rules for when children can be taken from their parents without a judge’s order. The legislation comes after extensive reporting by Honolulu Civil Beat’s John Hill and colleagues, with support from the Fund. Civil Beat’s ongoing series showed that in 85% of cases children are removed from their homes without a court order. One bill to strengthen due process for families cleared a key committee this month, after lawmakers refused state officials’ attempts to instead create a working group that would explore changes.