Past President & CEO Blog Entries
(Howard Garval, MSW)

December, 2016

You Have to Split Yourself: A Day in the Life of 3 Hawaii CEOs

Keywords: Howard Garval, Hawaii Business Magazine, Families, Strengthening Families

Click here to read the Hawaii Business Magazine article!!

June 2, 2016

For long-term health, protect young children from trauma

Keywords: Protect, Evidence-Based Outcomes, Families, Healthy Families, Poverty, Social Problems, Trauma, Keiki, Children

This article appeared in the Island Voices section of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on 06-02-2016.

In the nonprofit world, evidence-based outcomes, or science that works, play a crucial role in our ability to deliver services that have been researched to prove effectiveness, and thus make qualitative and financial sense.

For health and human services nonprofits like Child & Family Service, those include evidence-based models across a full range of family-strengthening programs, including child, youth and domestic violence as well as gerontology program areas.

There is a growing body of evidence that early intervention programs also play a role in preventing health and social problems later in life.

The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study), a research study conducted by Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has linked childhood trauma to long-term health and social consequences.

One of the largest scientific studies of its kind with more than 17,000 participants, over the course of a decade the results demonstrated a strong, graded relationship between the level of traumatic stress in childhood and poor physical, mental and behavioral outcomes later in life.

Those ranged from behavioral issues such as difficulty learning or focusing in school and increased smoking or substance abuse, to chronic health conditions including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

If we can prevent childhood trauma like child abuse, the long-term implications are huge in both improved lives and cost savings in the health care system.

Research is also showing the connection between childhood trauma and poverty. Earlier this year the American Academy of Pediatrics issued new recommendations urging doctors to ask at all well-child visits whether families are able to make ends meet.

Children living in poverty can face a number of health problems that could affect them for their entire lives.
Stressed parents who are worried about housing or where the next meal is coming from are not as able to nurture their young babies, which is important for proper development.

A recent study from a researcher at Stanford University and Veteran Affairs Health Care System in Palo Alto, Calif., adds to a growing body of evidence showing that childhood trauma is associated with an increased risk for a variety of mental health disorders, including depression.

The study published in the journal Translational Psychiatry notes that having a history of abuse during childhood may signal a low likelihood that antidepressant drugs will improve an adult’s symptoms of major depression and that the presence of trauma history should be taken into account when making treatment decisions.

A specific history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, however — particularly if it occurred at age 7 or younger — was associated with a worse response to the drugs, the study found.

When it comes to strengthening families, the younger the better. For example, our CFS Healthy Families Program provides comprehensive home visitation services to prenatal families or families with newborn infants who have been identified as being at high risk for abuse.

Over 99 percent of families who participate in the program for one year or more have no reports of abuse.

Programs like these make an early connection that can have life-long impact not only for individual families, but also for the social and economic welfare of our collective community.

This article appeared in the Island Voices section of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on 06-02-2016.

April 28, 2016

Improving Lives: The Shared Commitment Of Nonprofits

Keywords: Evidence-Based Outcomes, Families, Healthy Families, Poverty, Social Problems, Trauma

View this article in our news section!

April 08, 2016

Improving Lives: The Shared Commitment Of Nonprofits

Keywords: Civil Beat, Families, Nonprofits

This article appeared on the Honolulu Civil Beat website.

View this article in our news section or on the Civil Beat website.


October 07, 2015

Strengthening families leads to lifelong success

Keywords: Homeless, keiki, family centers

This article was also published in the October 07, 2015 edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Island Voices section (Subscritpion Required)

Whether from the perspective of providing help or providing housing, the critical state of homelessness in Hawai‘i is an issue that affects our entire community. Helping families to not only survive but thrive goes well beyond providing basic needs and shelter, but it starts there as well. A recently published study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has added to the mounting evidence that growing up in severe poverty affects the way children’s brains develop, potentially putting them at lifelong disadvantage. The study found that the parts of the brain tied to academic performance were 8 percent to 10 percent smaller for children who grow up in very poor households.

The study, published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Pediatrics, combined the expertise of neuroscientists and economists and suggests that poverty affects parts of the brain tied to self-control, attention, planning and other traits important for success in school. The children often receive less nurturing from parents and live in environments characterized by increased stress from crowded housing, instability, poor nutrition, limited stimulation and greater exposure to violence.

As a nonprofit organization, Child & Family Service (CFS) works to strengthen thousands of families in Hawai‘i each year, providing them the tools to change their lives for the better and to sustain those changes for the long term. From crisis hotlines for families affected by domestic violence, to Healthy Families programs that reduce the potential for neglect and abuse, we recognize that families, especially children who are most vulnerable, cannot move beyond survival unless their basic needs are met.

Our family centers — also known as Neighborhood Places, on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui, and Hawai‘i island — are one-stop shops where families often come for basic supplies such as clothing and diapers but will also find nurturing parenting classes, learn financial and independent living skills and gain access to a wide range of community resources available to them. Experience has taught us that families make tremendous strides when they are able to focus their energies, talents and hopes beyond daily survival.

According to the state’s annual Point-in-Time Count, nearly half of those considered homeless were part of families, and a recent state survey indicated that more than 40 percent of the people who had been living in a homeless encampment in Honolulu’s Kakaako district were families. While we tend to characterize homelessness as a problem in itself, it is often a symptom with an underlying cause that affects the whole family, such as poverty, mental illness, substance abuse or domestic violence. Addressing the root causes of homelessness takes a community effort, and no single organization can provide all the services a family needs to overcome poverty.

CFS recently launched a partnership with Goodwill Industries of Hawaii called Transition to Success, a nationally recognized model designed to move those in poverty toward self-sufficiency. We are piloting the program on Maui and Kaua‘i at our family center locations. CFS will provide a full range of family strengthening services, and Goodwill will provide job training and placement opportunities.

Programs like Transition to Success, in addition to dozens of vital services provided by many community nonprofits across the state, work to help families move toward self-sufficiency. Indicators of success include the ability to earn income and manage money, as well as to provide care for their dependents, and access food and shelter.

As Nelson Mandela said, “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid — it was man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.”


July 24, 2015

Merging to Create a Continuum of Community Care

Keywords: Merger, TIFFE, Coming Together

After the initial coming together of our two organizations in 2012, we are pleased to announce the complete merger of The Institute for Family Enrichment (known by most as “TIFFE”) into CFS, effective July 1, 2015.

TIFFE was formed 30 years ago and is recognized for high quality clinical services in behavioral health. With its tradition of innovation, many intensive in-home mental health and substance abuse programs used across the state today had their roots and were created by TIFFE. In its accreditation process for TIFFE, the Council for Accreditation noted that TIFFE staff members are clearly passionate about the work they do and are committed to providing treatment that engages the total family and empowers families to develop the skills they need to achieve and sustain their goals.

Last year alone TIFFE provided direct services to 824 program participants and touched the lives of more than 3,365 family members through its Mobile Outreach Program and Together We Can, a substance abuse prevention program for youth.

The addition of TIFFE as a member of the CFS family of programs is consistent with our strategic direction to become a family-centered, full-service organization and fills out our community-based levels of care. CFS family services now range from crisis mobile outreach, to community-based residential home and transitional family home programs, to in-home behavioral health programs offered by TIFFE.

Thanks to the hard work of CFS and TIFFE management and staff members working together to complete the merger, I am confident that our organization is stronger and even better equipped to meet the needs of Hawaii’s families. TIFFE’s history of innovation in behavioral health services, along with our shared commitment to evidence-based programs, will together contribute to making the most impact on lives while building a continuum of services without duplication.

While TIFFE is no longer a subsidiary of CFS with a separate 501c3 and separate Board of Directors, the same high quality services that TIFFE is known for in the community will continue to be provided by the same staff, and programs will continue in a seamless way under the TIFFE name.

We at CFS and TIFFE look forward to an even stronger combined organization that continues its commitment to provide high quality and proven effective services to the families of Hawaii. We are excited about our future together.

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