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Hawaii Children’s Action Network is the leading children’s advocacy organization in the state. They build policy driven coalitions and mobilize family advocates around important issues such as childcare/preschool access, paid family leave and children’s oral health.

State Allies:

Hawaii Children's Action Network • Honolulu, HI
Top Priorities for 2021

Increase investments in childcare. Continue supports to providers and families (grants and expanded eligibility that were started as COVID-19 response.

Begin implementing preschool access bill passed in 2020. Advocate for appropriation.

Pass paid family leave and/or paid sick days law.

Develop plans with governmental and community partners to expand early childhood mental health consultation/behavioral health/trauma support for young children.

Hawai’i’s 2020 Early Childhood Policy Landscape and Progress:

Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

House (D), Senate (D)
Governor (D)

43,273 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

Even before COVID-19, nonprofits, legislators, and community members agreed that too many families in Hawai’i were holding their breath, just one disaster away from financial ruin. In January, the state was in a sound financial place, and advocates and legislators had big dreams for its future. There was agreement between the Governor’s Office and legislative leadership to increase spending in early learning. Working with other advocates and the legislative Keiki Caucus, Hawai’i Children’s Action Network began the session with some 30 Children’s Policy Agenda bills. 

The COVID-19 crisis struck Hawai’i just before the session’s halfway mark, and the legislature recessed in response. The Children’s Policy Agenda and the entire 2020 legislative session were put on hold. Legislators reconvened in May and again in June with a new budget shortfall to fill and $635 million of federal CARES Act relief funds to spend. During the session, legislators passed the state budget bill and put some of the federal CARES Act funds into the state rainy day fund. Later, they approved a plan to spend the federal CARES Act money to help residents and businesses. Some $15 million was allocated toward assistance for child care. Of the Children’s Policy Agenda bills, three (SB2486, HB2543, HB1346) passed.

*Early childhood policy progress in a state is the result of numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Download the full 50-State report.

The Alliance for Early Success 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy expands state data (disaggregating low-income young children by race) and provides high-level state policy trend analysis for the nation as a whole. Click the cover to go to the download page.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020
Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”
State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”
Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 
The Alliance for Early Success is achieving large-scale, long-lasting change for the state’s young children by providing our allies with powerful advantages that help them shape Hawai’i early childhood state policy.

Strategic, Outcomes-Focused Investments

Consulting and Strategy

Technical Support from National Expertise

Rapid Response Support

Connections/Access to Allies in Similar States

Roles in National Communities of Practice