Development of `Ohana Conferencing

The ‘Ohana Conferencing project began in Honolulu, Hawaii in July 1996 as a collaborative effort by the family court of the first circuit, the department of Human Services – Social services Division, and the Wai’anae community on the island of O’ahu.  Funded by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation and with support from the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the project has developed a powerful community-based intervention strategy which diverts child abuse and neglect cases from court and assists families involved in the court process.

The ‘Ohana Conferencing Project was one of four demonstration jurisdictions in the nation which are a part of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ “Diversion Project”.  Each jurisdiction formulated a multi-disciplinary team of court personnel, agency professionals, and community leaders to design partnerships to divert families into community-based services.  In Honolulu, the team developed the ‘Ohana Conference model, drawing from Hawaiian values and the example of New Zealand’s Maori people in their development of Family Group Conferencing.

Currently, 'Ohana Conferencing is funded by federal and state dollars through a contract with the Department of Human Services and provides statewide services. 

Development of E Makua Ana Youth Circles

EPIC began offering E Makua Ana Youth Circles in Hawaii in 2004.  The program applies a solution-focused approach as developed by Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer.  Youth Circles are primarily funded by a contract with the Department of Human Services.  A grant from the Victoria S. & Bradley L. Geist Foundation allows EPIC to offer Youth Circles to youth aged 16-24 who are former foster youth or foster youth who emancipated from foster care.