A bill that would have established the Safe Places Youth Pilot Program was killed in the last hour of conference committee Friday.

Senate Bill 979 would have created a network of safe places where teenagers and young adults could receive services without parental consent, such as counseling, alcohol and substance abuse support and teen pregnancy prevention.

SB 979 originally asked for $53,000 to hire a coordinator for the program, which wasn’t allocated by the money committees.

Hawaii State Capitol Building

Lawmakers at the Capitol killed a bill to establish the Safe Places Youth Pilot Program on friday.

PF Bentley/Civil Beat


It was introduced by Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, who proposed a similar measure in 2013 that was also deferred at the last minute during conference committee.

Under SB 979, the Office of Youth Services would have started a five-year pilot program to coordinate services and resources for people ages of 14-21.

The bill would have required the coordinator of the program to provide ongoing training of school personnel, community members and service providers. The proposed measure would have also allowed minors to receive services without parental consent if the service provider was unable to contact the parent or guardian, or the young person was at risk of being harmed.

During the Legislature’s annual children and youth summit in 2012, teens said one of their biggest concerns was the lack of places where they could be safe from intolerable home or school environments without fear of being judged, detained or criminalized, SB 979 stated.

Under the bill, young people would have been able to seek shelter and services at a variety of locations, like shopping centers, grocery stores, libraries and restaurants.

Supporters said that safe places and support systems could prevent violence and sexual abuse at home by allowing teens to seek shelter elsewhere. Scott Morishige, executive director of PHOCUSED, said the program would have been a “truly a collaborative community effort,” since it involved service providers, local businesses and law enforcement.

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