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Our key ally in in Hawai’i, Hawai’i Children’s Action Network, is the leading children’s advocacy organization in the state. The organization builds policy-driven coalitions, mobilizes family advocates, and publishes data reports to drive progress on important issues such as early childhood education, economic justice, oral health, and child abuse and neglect prevention.

2022 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Policy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing 

The state’s biennial fiscal 2022-2023 enacted budget provided for total fund spending of $15.9 billion in fiscal 2022 and $15.3 billion in fiscal 2023 as well as general fund spending of $7.4 billion in fiscal 2022 and $7.5 billion in fiscal 2023. The budget is based on general fund tax revenue forecasted at $6.79 billion in fiscal 2022 and $7.06 billion in fiscal 2023, reflecting annual growth of 4.0 percent. The budget approved in conference included appropriations of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, though the governor used line-item veto power to reject some expenditures supported by ARPA monies. The legislature subsequently convened in special session to override some of the governor’s vetoes as well as amend the budget in response to other vetoes.1

Political Alignment: Aligned Democrat 

During the 2022 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Democrat controlled. The state’s Governor was also Democrat.2

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 31% (47,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% FPL. This number represents a decrease from 32% (50,000) in 2015.3

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Non-White children 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% FPL.3

Advocacy Landscape:

Key state policy advocacy organizations include:

Early childhood policy advocacy multi-state initiatives present in the state include4:

2022 Policy Progress:

This was a banner year for Hawaiʻi’s children. Thanks to the efforts of coalition members, community leaders, and advocates, state lawmakers took long-awaited action to help families make ends meet through a higher minimum wage; a refundable, permanent state EITC; and restoring funding for the state’s preschool subsidy program. Legislators also closed gaps in the state’s Medicaid coverage for families and approved efforts to collect data on the state’s child care workforce.

Other highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include5:

HB 2510: Increases the minimum wage to $18 by 2028, from $10.10 currently. This also makes the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) permanent, and improves the EITC to make it fully available to the lowest-income families.

SB 2700: Authorizes the Department of Human Services to require the staff of licensed and registered early childhood programs to annually provide specific information to the Department’s Early Childhood Workforce Registry.

HB 1600: In 2021, the Preschool Open Doors subsidy was cut by $7 million. This year, that funding was restored, providing greater access to preschool programs for children the year before kindergarten.

HB 1600: Provides funding to reinstate the basic package of diagnostic, preventive, and restorative dental benefits to adult Medicaid enrollees. Also provides funding to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months following the end of pregnancy. 50% of the state’s maternal deaths between 2015-2016 were between 43 days to one year after delivery, when many women previously lost their Medicaid coverage.

HCR 69 / HR 62, SR 48: September 2022 will be recognized as Child Care Provider Appreciation Month in Hawaiʻi.

A pilot project to retain and recruit early childhood educators made it to the final stages of the legislative session, but ultimately did not pass. SB 2701 would have created a one-year pilot project to increase wages to a minimum of $17 for 5% of the state’s child care workers. Increasing compensation has been cited as the number one way to increase retention and recruitment for early childhood educators in Hawaiʻi.

Additional policy wins and links can be found in  HCAN’s 2022 Hawaiʻi Children’s Policy Agenda.


Hawai'i Advocacy Snapshot:


National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2022 Proposed & Enacted Budgets, April 2021

National Conference of State Legislatures, 2021 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 2, 2022.

Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, December, 2020; NCCP Analysis of ACS 5-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2016-2020.

Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-September, 2022.  

2023 Grantee Policy Agenda:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in Hawaii, Hawaii Children’s Action Network, is working to advance early childhood policies in several areas: 

Early Care and Education

Preschool and Pre-K

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Child and
Maternal Health

Infant & Child Health


Family Economic Security

Child Welfare


Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: