The HI H.O.P.E.S. youth leadership boards have launched the poweredtil26 campaign as a statewide outreach effort to inform former foster youth about their eligibility for free Medicaid coverage until age 26 and encourage enrollment.

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Medical coverage is a basic necessity and critical for young people to enjoy healthy and productive lives. Many young people who experience foster care are at greater risks for exposure to sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug usage and mental health issues which include anxiety, depression and PTSD. Obtaining and maintaining medical coverage should be a priority for young people and the adults that work with them, especially as they transition from foster care to adulthood.

Why is this effort important to us?

The HI H.O.P.E.S. Initiative (HHI) helps youth leaving foster care become successful adults in their communities.  We work with youth and community partners to provide access to education, employment, health care, housing, family relationships, social capital and financial capability. HHI is a partner site of the national Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative/Annie E. Casey Foundation ( and EPIC 'Ohana Inc. ( is the lead agency in Hawai'i.

The HI H.O.P.E.S. (Hawai'i, Helping Our People Envision Success) Youth Leadership Boards provide the youth voice for the HI H.O.P.E.S. Initiative and serves as the Youth Advisory Council for the Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Services in Hawai'i. They are comprised of current and former foster youth between the ages of 14-26 and their work is to educate, collaborate and advocate. Board members educate others about the experiences and needs of foster youth, particularly those who transition from foster care and into adulthood. They collaborate with public and private stakeholders to advocate for improved outcomes and increased opportunities for current and former foster youth in Hawai'i.There are HI H.O.P.E.S. boards on O'ahu, East Hawai'i, West Hawai'i, Maui and Kaua'i.