$ For Na Keiki Law Center

Appropriates $200,000 for fiscal year 1999-2000, to fund the Na
Keiki Law Center of Hawaii Lawyers Care.  (SD1)

THE SENATE                              S.B. NO.           S.D. 1
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the economic and
 2 social well-being of a society is directly reflected by the state
 3 of its children, and by all indicators, Hawaii's children are not
 4 well.  Children account for nearly one-half of the poverty
 5 population in Hawaii.  There are 306,500 children in Hawaii of
 6 whom nearly 22 per cent, or 65,000, live in poverty.  In
 7 addition, a growing number of children, nearly 20,000, are
 8 without health insurance.  In 1995, there were 2,635 cases of
 9 confirmed child abuse and one-third of the children who are
10 abused and neglected are native Hawaiians.  In 1998, every two
11 hours a child was reported abused or neglected.  Every five hours
12 a baby was born to a teenage mother.  Every three days a baby
13 died during the first year of life. 
14      Examples of injustice to children include family court
15 judges who request services for children that are denied due to
16 lack of funds; teen parents with no family support unable to
17 obtain housing or health care because they are minors; child
18 victims of violent crimes who testify in court without
19 representation.

Page 2                                                     170
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1

 1      The legal needs of our children need to be addressed to help
 2 them receive the services and care to which they are entitled and
 3 for which they need to become contributing and healthy adult
 4 members of our community.  The dramatic lack of resources that
 5 focus on the legal needs of children cries out for a solution. 
 6      The Na Keiki Law Center will be a private-public partnership
 7 of legal representation and advocacy for children.  Private
 8 foundation moneys and public funds will be combined in a joint
 9 effort to sponsor a new initiative for increased recognition of
10 the rights of children.
11      Na Keiki Law Center will focus exclusively on the legal
12 needs and the rights of children.  Children will be its clients
13 and their welfare will be its mission.  It will be available to
14 the community and to individual children to ensure that children
15 have a voice in the judicial process, in the administrative
16 process, and in the legislative arena.  It will divert children
17 from the criminal justice system by offering solutions to their
18 problems and choices for the future.
19      The Na Keiki Law Center is grounded in the belief that there
20 is nothing more important and more valuable in maintaining a
21 strong society than ensuring children's rights are protected, not
22 just their right to be safe, but their rights to be housed,
23 educated, supported, and to live free of violence. 

Page 3                                                     170
                                     S.B. NO.           S.D. 1

 1      SECTION 2.  There is appropriated out of the general
 2 revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $200,000, or so much
 3 thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 1999-2000, to fund
 4 the Na Keiki Law Center.
 5      SECTION 3.  The sum appropriated shall be expended by the
 6 department of labor, office of community services for the
 7 purposes of this Act.
 8      SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 1999.