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Becoming a parent can be the most beautiful, yet stressful, transition for anyone. And many young Native Hawaiian kamali‘i face challenges, due to family situations beyond their control. Often, their mākua (parents) need support, resources, stability, a work-life balance, and a healthy environment to raise their ‘ohana.

To help Native Hawaiian children and their families thrive, Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT) has created the Hoʻokahua program.

Hoʻokahua is a comprehensive and culturally grounded approach that blends early childhood programs with family assistance, housing support, and career pathways. It is a two-generation program for both you and your children to set a strong foundation for your ʻohana. You will learn to balance your own growth with raising and bonding with your keiki, so both of you can be successful. Young children thrive in a world of self-confidence, curiosity, and joy. They develop a love for learning in a supportive community.

We invite you to explore the Hoʻokahua program to learn how it can meet your ʻohana’s needs.


  • To help parents and children relate to one another and their environments, and to help them become successful in daycare, preschool, and workforce development pathways. A two-generational approach is used to address traumas faced by both mākua and kamaliʻi.
  • To create a safe, nurturing environment for vulnerable children and their parents who have undergone major life challenges. Parents are encouraged to participate in their child’s development and early learning while building economic security and new opportunities. 
  • To encourage high-quality early childhood development, using the most advanced research, brain science, and Hawaiian cultural practices.
  • To build connection among children, families, and other communities, using a multi-generational approach based on the three piko (piko poʻo, piko waena, piko maʻi).
  • To serve as an Indigenous early childhood innovation program focused on early childhood practices and professional development.


  • Native Hawaiian pregnant and parenting youth (ages 18-26) with at least one Native Hawaiian child (ages 0-5). 
  • Preference for children of parenting youth currently or formerly engaged with the child welfare system (including infants/young children at risk of being removed from their parent due to neglect, substance abuse, domestic violence, etc.); homeless; or living without basic economic necessities.


A Foundation Based on Hawaiian Culture and Values. Our work with young children and their families is rooted in Hawaiian culture. Families and children have inherent strengths and gifts that mirror their culture, language, and beliefs. Our programs and practices reflect the gifts, wisdom and richness of Hawaiian culture. The intention is to help young children and their families thrive and heal.

Activities include: 

Puʻu Lei o Liliʻu (PLOL): This program builds a foundation for healing, wellness, and connection through ʻike kūpuna and moʻolelo. Parents learn about Queen Liliʻuokalani and her legacy, the Kumulipo and the Hawaiian Worldview, and participate in discussions and activities to learn about their moʻokūauhau. Through PLOL, parents design their future and the legacy they wish to pass on to their children.    

Case Management: Having access to social services and case management is important to a family’s overall well-being. It also helps parents achieve economic independence. Families connect regularly with Early Childhood Specialists (ECS) who identify and support parents’ individualized needs in life skills, parenting, child development, education, job readiness training, and housing stability. The ECS links families to resources for childcare, preschool, workforce pathways, and financial assistance. 

Pua Liliʻu Assessment: Pua (flower) is a cultural metaphor for children and represents the care provided for them. It is named after one of Queen Liliʻuokalani’s favorite flowers, the crown flower. The Pua Liliʻu, made up of five petals, represents a holistic view of a person’s well-being. Pono is at the center of the Pua Liliʻu, representing what individuals strive for, a state of being when they are balanced and thriving in each petal. The five petals are:

  • Naʻau – Cultural identity, cultural values, spiritual identity, self-efficacy (a measure of innate wisdom) 
  • Hale/ʻOhana – Family and community relationships 
  • Olakino – Child development, physical, and emotional health 
  • ʻImi ʻike – Education, goals, aspirations, and skills 
  • Kumu Waiwai – Basic needs, employment, and financial management 

Hoʻomohala (to open, blossom): Goal Setting. Once families complete the Pua Liliʻu, our Early Childhood Specialists (ECS) assist families in reaching their goals. This could include: referring or connecting to other agencies or organizations, assisting with applications for financial support, or referring to LT’s social service groups, such as:  

  • Hoʻopono is conflict resolution using Hawaiian/Kanaka 'Ōiwi cultural beliefs, values, and practices that come from Hoʻoponopono as practiced and taught by Tūtū Mary Kawena Pukuʻi. Ho'opono differs from Ho'oponopono in that it helps to resolve pilikia or conflict that arises from ʻohana/hale in daily living.  
  • Mindful Forgiveness with Aloha teaches parents how to release negative feelings and connect to the present moment. The intention is to build resilience, manage reactions to stressful situations, and raise awareness of what causes distress.


Caregivers play the most important role in children's lives, especially when they are young. Responsive relationships are important in nurturing and developing children’s brains. At Hoʻokahua, services focus on relationships that nurture children’s brain development and improve their social and emotional well-being. This sets the foundation for a healthy future.

Mom Power (MP) supports moms through parenting and self-care skills, connecting with other moms, and accessing local resources. The sessions teach moms about the bond with their children. Moms are invited to reflect and share with other participants, practice self-care, and engage in activities with their children. 

Child Team offers one-on-one care to each kamaliʻi, focusing on their social-emotional needs and providing attachment-related experiences within a developmental framework. The Child Team creates a physically and emotionally safe environment for children, so moms can trust the care their children receive while they focus on the Mom’s Group.

Kanaka-Hood empowers fathers on their unique journey through parenthood. The program helps fathers embrace their role of protecting, providing, and using the wisdom of Kanaka-Hood, Kāne, Kanaloa, Kū, and Lono to become better fathers. The program encourages fathers to participate, develop a mutual understanding, and embrace their roles in parenting. 

Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) is therapy for young children from birth through age five and their parents/caregivers. This approach strengthens families and relationships, helps families heal and grow after stressful experiences, and respects family and cultural values. CPP is especially helpful to children who have gone through stressful situations, loss of a loved person, separation, serious medical procedures, exposure to violence, and/or are experiencing difficult behaviors. CPP helps them understand their family’s experiences, so they know what to expect in the future, and learn to cope with difficult emotions.

Home Visiting services connect families to support, guidance, and resources to learn and practice positive parenting techniques. Families learn how to create a nurturing environment at home that helps early learning and communication to promote the child's language development. 

Cohort Sessions allow families to connect, create community, share resources, expand networks, and build social skills. Sessions are a safe spaces for young adult parents to learn, reflect on their journeys, and give and receive support from one another. Children in the cohort gain social-emotional skills, interact with other participants, and connect with their parents through parent-child activities.   



Mākua face unique challenges as they balance the responsibilities of parenthood and strive for independence. Early Childhood Specialists (ECS) help parents become more independent and confident in handling the challenges of parenthood, as they set goals for independence and self-sufficiency. LT provides an education and career pathways program.


Studies show that children’s success in kindergarten is related to activities, such as caregiver reading, and learning to self-regulate emotions and behaviors. With such skills, children who enter kindergarten are ready to grow and learn. They also have an advantage over peers who are less prepared to do the same. Children from low-income households who participate in high-quality early education are more likely to finish high school. They are twice as likely to attend college.