Parents with a child who have been diagnosed with behavioral or mental challenges know that navigating through the system of government and state care can be an intimidating task. Thanks to community donations, we’re able to guide parents to receive the help they need. Ohana Support Services (OSS), which started in September 2015, is designed to educate and empower families who may have children with a mental health disorder diagnosis or behavioral issues.
“It is challenging to be a parent in general, but when you have children that are dealing with mental health or behavioral issues, it can be overwhelming,” says Lara McCain, Program Director. “We’re here to support, assist and empower the parents and caregivers of these kids.”
If you are enrolled in OSS, you are connected with parent partners who help families access CAMHD (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Division) and DOE (Department of Education) resources, facilitate support groups, educational workshops and encourage positive parenting skills and collaborative relationships.
What’s truly unique about OSS is that these parent partners are not only certified in what they do, but also have experience as a parent/caregiver themselves, helping their child navigate the mental health or special education systems. Whether it’s helping with everyday needs like paperwork, transportation and housing, or providing encouragement and support during school meetings with psychologists and counselors, these parent partners provide assistance towards meeting the family’s goals.
Lelani, a caregiver who received help from OSS, says that her parent partner Pualani Basbas played a vital role in helping her care for her grandson, who has mental health issues.
“I thank CFS for helping me become a more knowledgeable and confident caregiver for my grandson,” Lelani said. “Through the OSS program, I learned to calm down and not overreact, and give my grandson the opportunity to feel, understand and communicate his feelings. He is doing much better and has learned to manage his feelings. He also had a great report card too!”
For more information on this program: