Guiding Foster Youth Through the Nā ‘Ohana Pulāma Program

As a baby, Leilani* was adopted by a loving family that included additional adopted children. However, after 12 years, the family needed additional support and Leilani temporarily entered therapeutic foster care. After a few months, Leilani formally transitioned into foster care and worked with Catholic Charities of Hawaii’s Nā ‘Ohana Pulāma therapeutic foster care program to find a permanent home. Having felt abandoned twice, the staff worked diligently to help her build her self-confidence, manage her emotions, develop positive relationships and so much more to create pathways toward a successful future.

Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Nā ‘Ohana Pulāma (NOP) program provides therapeutic foster care for emotionally and behaviorally challenged youth in a nurturing family home environment. The goal of our specialized foster care program is to return the keiki to their families – better adjusted and better equipped – to deal with real world situations. The youth who enter the NOP program are usually pre-teens and teenagers, and come from a variety of backgrounds. Although many have been traumatized in their past via abuse and neglect, entering a structured, loving atmosphere can help them normalize their lives.

In working with Leilani, staff worked diligently to apply and ultimately have Leilani admitted to Kamehameha Schools and she is doing well in her first year. It was during that application process that the CCH team realized similarities with another client and were able to identify Leilani’s sister and connect with Leilani’s biological grandmother.

“I’m really grateful for the NOP program and its staff. It is because of them, that I was able to discover and meet my family- which has been an amazing gift,” Leilani shares.

Leilani is now living with her biological auntie and uncle who have permanent custody. Even though the last couple years have been met with so much change and emotional turmoil, Leilani has done well transitioning to a new school and has been welcomed into a family she didn’t even know existed.

If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us, it is the importance of family and a support system of loved ones. Please consider making a generous donation today to help us be that support system for young people in the foster care program as they navigate their way to adulthood with loving guidance.

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*Name changed for client confidentiality