Helping Maui Keiki and Families Heal
As Maui keiki and families are healing from the collective trauma of the devastating wildfires, many questions still remain. What will happen to the 250 child care spaces that have been lost? What will the long-term mental health impacts be on our youngest keiki? What family support programs are needed?
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, many local nonprofits have stepped up to provide immediate assistance, including Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Hawai’i, Imua Family Services, Kama’aina Kids, Maui Family Support Services, Maui Economic Opportunity, and PATCH. Organizations like these have been working tirelessly to ensure that the youngest keiki on Maui are taken care of and have a safe place to go while their families recover.
Ka’ina Bonacorsi, Maui County Early Childhood Resource coordinator, says a phased approach to recovery is key. While the focus has been on the immediate needs, like child care, securing funding for the long-term is going to be the critical next step. More than 30 partners who support and serve young children and families from prenatal to age eight, recently came together to identify priority programs and services that address the needs of young keiki and families on Maui. Together, in coordination with Maui Family Support Services, they submitted 29 service proposals for grant funding consideration. Commit to Keiki eagerly awaits the announcement of services selected for funding.
In the meantime, Commit to Keiki encourages families impacted by the Maui fires to apply for the state’s Child Care Subsidy Program. The Department of Human Services has made it easier for families to receive monetary assistance for child care by making temporary changes to the normal requirements. Less restrictions means more families are now eligible. The deadline to apply is October 31, 2023. (See flyer below for more information.)
As we move forward, it is critical that we prioritize the well-being of our youngest keiki and their families. By providing a strong network of support, we can help Maui families navigate the challenges ahead and help rebuild their lives.