Hale ‘Ōpio Kaua‘i, Inc. is dedicated to improving young people’s quality of life, enhancing a sense of belonging, increasing self-awareness, and strengthening ‘Ohana by providing residential and community programs for education, prevention, court diversion, and treatment.
Authentic connections with trusted, knowledgeable adults facilitate the positive development of young people.
Hale ‘Ōpio provides culturally grounded, youth-driven, family-centered services that are collaborative by nature and that reflect the continuous positive regard in which youth and family are held.
Hale ‘Ōpio is a private, non-profit organization incorporated in 1975, whose mission is dedicated to improving young people’s quality of life, enhancing a sense of belonging, increasing self-awareness, and strengthening ‘Ohana by providing residential and community programs for education, prevention, court diversion, and treatment.
In 1974, a group of community leaders – George Masuoka, Roland Gay, Walter Briant, Howard Carvalho, Will Welsh, Michael Sheehan, and Dr. Ruth Smith, among others, responded to a Family Court need to develop the potential of our island youth by starting a group home and emergency shelter. Dr. Smith, co-researcher in the landmark study known simply as the “Children of Kaua‘i”, set the course for Hale ‘Ōpio program development in two ways: underscoring the importance of consistent caring relationships to develop capable healthy young people, and committing the organization to continuous improvement.
Hale ‘Ōpio was licensed as a Child Placing institution, a Special Treatment Facility, and a Child Placing Organization and introduced a variety of programs benefiting youth and families over the years: Therapeutic Family Homes, Kapa’a High School Health Center, DHS Multidisciplinary Team Services, TeenLine (now TeenLink), Intensive Home Based Services, Crisis Shelter Services, Kaua‘i Teen Court, Victim Impact Classes, Truancy Prevention/Intervention, Intensive Assessment and Case Management and Family Conferencing. Hale ‘Ōpio is a founding member of the Hawai‘i Youth Services Network (1981) and the Hawai‘i Association for Non-Profit Organizations (2002), and the only local organization nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation (since 1999).
Currently, Hale ‘Ōpio offers over twenty programs to 500 youth annually to achieve its mission. Programs proven to develop youth competencies, strengthen family bonds, divert from the justice system, connect to education, prepare for self-sufficiency, and teach wise lifestyles are provided across the island.
While providing youth development programs to benefit all youth, Hale ‘Ōpio also continues its original work with those who have experienced the trauma of disrupted families, including the poor. Imua Kakou offers youth who exited foster care at 18 the opportunity for continued adult support and encouragement while learning to navigate the world of adult responsibilities; employment, housing, healthy relationships, education, health care, and community connections. The Hawai‘i Youth Opportunities Initiative includes financial literacy training, a matched savings account, and support for tangible asset purchases. The First Jobs Academy provides enhanced management training for employers who agree to be business mentors to youth trained in work readiness and independent living skills.
Every year one of the key tasks for Hale ‘Ōpio is balance, a balance between opportunity and risk. Clearly our 40-year history on Kaua‘i has proven that whatever the opportunities, whatever the risks, we have been willing to take a lead, seek new partners, and have taken risks in the development of continuum of services; a continuum that demonstrates our commitment to our constituency and to our community.