During the 2016 legislative session, Department of Human Services (DHS) advocated alongside the community for two bills that expand the opportunities for young people to discover who they are through education and experiences, supported by people who care for them. On June 29, Governor David Ige signed into law these two pieces of legislation.
In a bill signing ceremony, Gov. Ige first signed House Bill 2350 into law as Act 133. This law supports resource caregivers, giving them more discretion to allow youth to participate in activities that will help them grow, learn, and thrive. Additionally, Gov. Ige signed Senate Bill 2878 into law as Act 134. This law extends the application period for former foster youth to access higher education benefits to age 26 and supports Imua Kākou, helping ease the transition for foster youth to adulthood.
The two laws brought together the community, DHS, and the very young people whose lives are impacted by the bills to work with legislators and stress the importance of these supports. The legislature’s passage and governor’s signing of these laws demonstrate the power of these young people and our government’s commitment to supporting them. The two laws represent shared commitment across the community and the three State of Hawai‘i branches of government, which was displayed in each branch’s presence at the bill signing ceremony.