Safe Start in the Community: Honolulu, Hawaii

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Throughout the month we will feature the 10 Safe Start Promising Approaches grantees and the work they’re doing in their communities to help children exposed to violence and their families.

Kaipo, a 12-year-old boy, is in seventh-grade regular and special education classes at Hawaii Middle School. Kaipo and his younger brother Jordan enrolled in Haupoa Enhanced Safe Start (Haupoa) services with their mother, Luanne. During the comprehensive intake assessment interview, Luanne tearfully reports that she feels tremendous guilt, shame, and inadequacy as a mother because, during the 3 years she was married to the boys’ father, her children witnessed physical and other forms of violence toward her, as well as ongoing verbal and emotional abuse. For example, their father told the boys that their mother was a whore. Luanne expresses that Kaipo is “scared” and more cautious because of his long exposure to the intimate partner violence. Although Luanne enrolls both children for Haupoa treatment services, she identifies Kaipo as the focus of her individual work in the program.

Luanne and her sons faithfully attend the seven initial group sessions of Haupoa. Luanne learns about positive parenting, and Kaipo demonstrates problem-solving skills. At the conclusion of the Haupoa group cycle, Luanne requests to continue with individual services.

With the Haupoa counselor advocate and Kaipo, she collaboratively develops several individualized goals for treatment including decreasing conflicts between herself and Kaipo, decreasing conflicts between Kaipo and Jordan, and decreasing Kaipo’s concerns about becoming a “cool kid” at school. The Haupoa counselor meets with the family regularly and tracks these behaviors using Modular Cognitive Behavior Therapy tools. Over the course of eight sessions, they discuss parent management training and with Kaipo discuss problem solving and goal setting. Conflicts between Luanne and Kaipo decrease from 1+ times per week to less than once per week, conflicts between Kaipo and Jordan decrease from every day to only once per week, and Kaipo begins to use his problem-solving skills more frequently to address “drama” at school.

It appears from their self-reports and staff progress reports that their participation in Haupoa services is helping increase self-efficacy and confidence for both Luanne and Kaipo.

Safe Start Hawaii

University of Hawaii at Manoa
Department of Sociology & Department of Psychology
2424 Maile Way Saunders 247
Honolulu, HI 96822

Parents and Children Together (PACT), Family Peace Center
1485 Linapuni Street
Honolulu, HI 96819


Blends understanding of domestic and family violence with MCBT as a practice innovation for children who have lived in homes with parental violence. Incorporates both group and individual modalities, tailoring treatment plans and services for the specific needs of each family. Serves a client population that is over 80% Native Hawaiian, Asian and/or Pacific Islander Americans and immigrants.

Target Population:

Children and their non-offending parent or caregiver (usually mother)

Age Range:



  • Haupoa Enhanced*

*Evidence-based or promising practice


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