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Lawmakers Spent Big This Year to Help Hawaii Families ‘Pushed Over the Edge’
May 31, 2022

Fellows mentioned in this story: Kerrie Urosevich, Cohort III

From Civil Beat:

A historic budget surplus, strong coordination by advocacy groups and the undeniable fact that many of Hawai‘i’s families are struggling — both financially and mentally — helped drive big investments in early childhood initiatives this year.

Lawmakers allocated $200 million for preschool facilities, restored nearly $7 million in preschool funding for low-income families, increased access to postnatal care for some of the state’s most vulnerable women and moved to increase teacher pay — a step they hope will make early childhood education a more attractive career for workers.

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Not all efforts to address the gaps in Hawaii’s safety net were successful, however. Despite a number of bills in the last session that touched on a mental health crisis that has worsened among families during the pandemic, several measures aimed at addressing domestic violence in the state failed to pass. 

The lack of investment in preventing family violence was particularly disappointing, said Kerrie Urosevich of Early Childhood Action Strategy, given the increase in domestic violence in Hawai‘i during the pandemic and the likelihood that it will continue to be a challenge until families and communities can stabilize from the effects of Covid-19.

Continue reading at civilbeat.org.