Saturday, February 27, 1999

Human Services
candidate answers
tough questions

Online directory to
legislators and their offices
By Craig Gima


Legislature '99 Despite reservations of her vice chairman, Senate Human Services Chairwoman Suzanne Chun Oakland believes Susan Chandler will be confirmed as director of the state Human Services Department.

"She has been extremely open in making systemic changes that have been needed for a long time, even before she came in as director," Chun Oakland said.

At a confirmation hearing yesterday, Vice Chairman Randy Iwase (D, Mililani) questioned Chandler about a recent legislative audit of the Child Protective Service agency within her department.

The audit criticized the department for failing to ensure all child abuse and neglect reports are investigated.

Iwase wanted to know what Chandler has done to address the problems proactively, rather than just reacting to the auditor's report.

Chandler told the committee that new laws now set time limits for decisions on whether to permanently remove a child or reunite the child with family.

"I think that in several of the cases that are in the media, decisions weren't made fast enough in my mind," she said.

She added that there now is an internal review process when a child suffers repeated abuse, and that the department is working with police to establish better communication about abuse cases.

About 50 people testified in support of Chandler's confirmation. Many of them work for the department or represented agencies that work with the department.

Most praised Chandler's ability to listen and work with different groups, and her background in social work.

Chun Oakland said there are about three senators who have expressed concern about Chandler's nomination. She suggested those who have concerns should attend hearings that are looking into problems at the Child Protective Service agency and learn what is being done to address them.

"It's a matter of not blaming, but actually being part of the solution," Chun Oakland said.

Online directory to
legislators and their offices

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin