Source: (2002) Family Court Review. 40: 503.

According to statistics at the end of 2001, hundreds of thousands of children lived in foster care because of abuse or neglect from their birth families. Only a few years earlier, millions of children were reported to Child Protective Services offices in one year because they were at risk of or had experienced abuse or neglect. Many people contend that the Child Protective Services (CPS) system is in crisis and in urgent need of reform. Against this backdrop, Adams and Chandler describe a collaboration between Hawaii’s Family Court and CPS to introduce an innovative variant of family group decision-making (FGDM). FGDM is a community-based intervention strategy that diverts child abuse and neglect cases from the court and assists families involved in the court process. Hawaii’s innovation on FGDM is called ‘Ohana Conferencing (‘Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family, relative, kin group, extended family clan). Adams and Chandler look at the need for child welfare reform, the plan for change in Hawaii, FGDM, and Hawaii’s particular approach to family group conferencing.