SEVEN SENATE BILLS ADDRESSING DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, CHILD WELFARE, AND TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE SIGNED INTO LAW
Hawaiʻi solidified its commitment to helping victims of domestic violence, children, and people who have experienced trauma, as Governor Green signed seven Senate bills into law today addressing these topics. These bills represent a significant commitment to those in our community who need assistance.
"With the passage of these bills and the resources provided in the 2023 state budget, we hope that there will no longer be any more preventable deaths due to domestic violence and child abuse,” said Sen. Joy San Buenaventura, (Senate District 2, Puna), Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and introducer of Senate Bills 406, 894, and 1527. “With the Governor’s signing of today’s child welfare bills, we hope to address the failures that led to the abuse of children whom the state is supposed to protect.”
“I share the concerns of our community to urgently address the tragedies and shortcomings of Hawaiʻi's child welfare system, therefore, I was moved to action and introduced Malama Ohana - SB295. This bill aims to reform the Child Welfare System by requiring the Department of Human Services to work with the community and various stakeholders to determine and address core structural and process failures within our system," said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, (Senate District 17, Portion of Mililani, Mililani Mauka, portion of Waipi‘o Acres, Launani Valley, Wahiawā, Whitmore Village) and introducer of Senate Bill 295. “I'm encouraged and hopeful that because Malama Ohana will be comprised of skilled and committed community-based organizations, representatives of the child welfare services branch, institutions serving Native Hawaiians, contracted service providers, birth parents, and youth with lived experience in the State's child welfare system, that they will put forth immediate and actionable recommendations for reform that will produce pos
itive outcomes for all keiki and ohana in the State's child welfare system. I also believe that Malama Ohana will contribute to developing more effective community support while allowing the community to be heard and take more responsibility for the well-being and welfare of our keiki.”
"Trauma is often the root cause of criminal behavior. Past performance has shown Government adding to that problem. That needs to come to an end," said Sen. Glenn Wakai, (Senate District 15, Kalihi, Māpunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake, Āliamanu, Foster Village, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, and portions of ‘Aiea and Pearl City) introducer of Senate Bill 712. "Formerly establishing a Trauma-Informed Certification program will allow our prison guards to display empathy and encouragement to a very vulnerable population. The healing begins with education."
"SB 933 is necessary to require judges to allow petitioners seeking temporary restraining orders in domestic violence situations to attend court remotely," said Sen. Karl Rhoads, (Senate District 13, Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Pālama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown, and Downtown) introducer of Senate Bill 933. "Encounters between abusers and victims in court often result in additional trauma to victims."
"I'm grateful that Governor Josh Green signed SB1267 into law. Hawai’i will continue to support and prioritize survivor safety and this crucially important bill will further protect survivors regardless of their address," said Sen. Lorraine Inouye, (Senate District 1, Hilo, Pauka‘a, Papaikou, Pepe‘ekeo) introducer of Senate Bill 1267. "Access to justice shouldn't depend on one's zip code, and survivors everywhere deserve access to protection."
The Senate Bills signed by the Governor are:
SB295 SD2 HD2 CD1, Relating To Child Welfare Services
Establishes within the Office of Wellness and Resilience the Malama ʻOhana Working Group to seek, design, and recommend transformative changes to the State's existing child welfare system. Allows the Office to contract with an administrative facilitator to provide necessary support for the working group. Requires the Malama ʻOhana Working group to report to the Legislature.
SB406 SD1 HD1,Relating To Child Visitation
Allows the court to award reasonable visitation rights to a petitioning grandparent of a minor child when the child's parent is unable to exercise parental visitation due to death or incarceration and denial of reasonable grandparent visitation rights would cause significant harm to the child. Requires the court to follow best interest of the child procedures, considerations, and standards when granting grandparent visitation rights. Specifies that any person who violates the terms and conditions of a court order granting reasonable grandparent visitation rights are subject to sanctions.
SB712 SD2 HD1 CD1, Relating To Corrections
Establishes a trauma-informed certification program at the Windward Community College campus of the University of Hawaiʻi for adult corrections officers. Requires the curriculum to include a level I trauma-informed care course designed for adult corrections officers.
SB894 SD2 HD2 CD1,, Relating To The Office Of Wellness And Resilience
Transfers the Office of Wellness and Resilience from the Office of the Governor to the Department of Human Services on 7/1/2025. Extends the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force dissolution date to 6/30/2025 and establishes the Task Force as an advisory board to the Office of Wellness and Resilience until its dissolution. Reconstitutes the membership of the Trauma-Informed Care Task Force into a permanent advisory board to the Office of Wellness and Resilience to be called the Wellness and Resilience Advisory Board. Effective 1/1/2024.
SB933 SD1 HD1 CD1, Relating To Temporary Restraining Orders
Authorizes the family courts to allow petitioners to attend TRO hearings remotely upon request. Requires the courts to consider certain factors. Requires the courts to allow petitioners who allege domestic abuse to attend TRO hearings remotely.
SB1267 SD1 HD1,Relating To Protective Orders
Expands the jurisdiction for where petitions for domestic abuse protective orders and temporary restraining orders may be filed.
SB1527 SD2 HD1 CD1, Relating To Address Confidentiality
Changes the governmental entity responsible for the administration of the Address Confidentiality Program from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor to the Department of Law Enforcement. Allows the Department of Law Enforcement to contract with a third party for the mail forwarding and acceptance of service of legal process aspects of the program. Appropriates funds for full-time equivalent positions, operating costs, and equipment to support the Department of Law Enforcement in administering the Address Confidentiality Program.