Hawaii to help Alaska with foster care

Honolulu, Hawaii (AP) August 2010

Hawaii is beginning to help Alaska and its tribal organizations reduce the number of Native Alaskan children in foster care.

The Hawaii Department of Human Services was asked by the federally funded Western Pacific Implementation Center to assist Alaska in developing a computer system that weighs risk and safety factors to determine what actions to take when investigating reports of child abuse.

Responses include offering voluntary family strengthening services and immediately placing children in protective care.

Before Hawaii launched the system in 2005, Native Hawaiians were more than twice as likely to be removed from their families.

Human Services Director Lillian Koller says that disparity has been eliminated since the system was implemented.