Policy Resource

Hawaii initiates Ohana Nui Across Departments Serving Young Children

Mar 6, 2019

Ohana Nui, or “extended family” is Hawaii’s adaptation of the national two-generation anti-poverty strategy.

Ohana Nui, or “extended family” is Hawaii’s adaptation of the national two-generation anti-poverty strategy. The initiative is the result of a partnership between Hawaii’s Department of Health and Department of Human Services and is a multigenerational approach that invests early and concurrently in children and families to improve health, education, employment and other outcomes. An advisory group (comprised of division administrators, staff officers, and executive directors of attached agencies and commissions), provides the leadership and guidance for the initiative. The application of Ohana Nui involves four key components:

  • Approach – a mindset that seeks to understand the intersecting needs of parents and children when designing and implementing programs and policies;
  • Strategy – actions taken to promotes children’s learning and health development as well parent’s success as caregivers;
  • Program – coordinated services to adults and children in the family; and
  • Policy and Systems – opportunities for redesign of conditions and rules under which programs can operate.

The approach addresses the needs of children, parents, and grandparents, resulting in better outcomes for the entire family. This philosophy allows the agencies to tear down silos, think beyond the limitations of funding streams, and work across divisions, programs, and teams to create a framework that will best support improved well-being and self-sufficiency for the state’s most vulnerable children and families.