The Children's Law Project of Hawaiʻi is a non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to the rights of
court-involved youth on Hawaiʻi Island.
Every Child Has A Voice
Our attorneys specialize in acting as Guardians ad litem (GALs), lawyers who investigate children’s circumstances and advocate for their best interests in family court.
We serve as GALs for foster children, as well as children who are otherwise court-involved, either in truancy cases, juvenile law offender cases, or in cases where parents are engaged in contested custody disputes. Children often do not have a meaningful way of participating in the family court cases that affect their lives, and we help engage them and give them a voice in these proceedings.
In addition to representing children as GALs, we work to support the broader community of advocates here on Hawaiʻi Island. Finally, the Children’s Law Project also represents non-parent caregivers in guardianship and adoption proceedings.
Our VOICES program promotes safety and reduces the number of violent crimes in our community by intervening in families plagued by domestic violence. The occurrence of domestic violence is a tragic reality of daily life for many families on Hawaii Island. Children may be the primary or secondary victims of domestic violence, traumatized by witnessing abuse and growing up in unsafe environments. Either way, children are the most vulnerable members of the family, and children victimized by domestic violence have an increased risk of lifelong behavioral and emotional problems. We recommend specific court orders and litigate when necessary to ensure that our clients are safe.
Through Project Permanence, we work to establish adoptions and legal guardianships for children whose parents are not able to safely care for them. First, we seek to prevent child welfare involvement by establishing a legal relationship between children and non-parent caregivers. Second, Project Permanence seeks to get children already involved with child welfare services out of the foster care system by establishing guardianships and adoptions. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to help children live in permanent homes and forge lifelong connections to stable families.
As GALs for children in foster custody, we take a broad view of our young client’s needs. By following best practices and advocating for trauma-informed care, we seek to connect our clients with the services they need to heal from their experiences. We strive to give our clients a voice and empower them to participate in the child protective services process. As advocates for children, we investigate the circumstances of the case, report to the parties and the court, encourage settlement in children’s best interests, and connect the family with community resources.
ABOLISHING BARRIERS TO LEARNING AND EDUCATION
The ABLE Program is a collaborative, community-based approach to addressing chronic school non-attendance. The ABLE Program allows family court judges on Hawaiʻi Island to appoint GALs for students with pending truancy cases. When a child is regularly absent from school, it can often be a sign of distress elsewhere in his or her life. Children’s Law Project GALs investigate the circumstances surrounding the child’s truancy, report findings to the court, and make recommendations for a course of action in the best interest of the child. By identifying at-risk children early and providing a consistent supportive intervention, we can determine what barriers to education a child is facing, & ensure their continued safety and well-being.
GAL RESOURCE CENTERS
The Children’s Law Project also works to continually expand and support our community of child advocates on Hawaiʻi Island. Our GAL Resource Centers in Hilo and Kona, provide a safe, confidential, child-friendly environment where GALs can interview their clients and caregivers. We provide a library with resource materials, training opportunities, and collaborative meetings for GALs, and participate in community outreach events. By supporting and training GALs, Children's Law Project of Hawaiʻi seeks to maximize the quality and efficacy of advocacy in our community for court-involved children on Hawaiʻi Island.
The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.
For any inquiries or questions, you may contact us via email at email@example.com, telephone at 808-825-4080 or fill out the following form
101 Aupuni St. #1014A
Hilo, HI 96720
75-5656 Kuakini Hwy. Ste. 303
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740