Child and Family Service

Treating Poverty as a Condition: An Evidence-Based Model of Care

Family services

Treating poverty as a condition through an evidenced-based model of care called Transition to Success® and uniting service providers throughout Hawaii to address intergenerational poverty.

View Project Website

Take Action

Connect with us

To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Poverty is not a character flaw; it spans generations and “is caused by a person’s particular social determinants of health (SDH), the conditions in which people live, work and grow. These conditions play a profound role in an individual’s physical, emotional and financial health .” Poverty affects more than 200,000 people in Hawaii.We have the cure: Transition to Success (TTS). This care system changes our understanding and treatment response to the condition of poverty. CFS successfully piloted TTS three years ago on Kauai and Maui and we have the data to prove it works! We partner with those we serve to develop a roadmap based on their needs, challenges, circumstances and dreams, that will help move them closer to self-sufficiency.Our vision is to collaborate and train community stakeholders and government to develop a statewide TTS implementation plan that include data collection across 19 areas to measure our impact.

Problem Statement

CFS provides direct services to over 15,000 individuals each year. Many are drastically impacted by poverty. Poverty pervades a person’s daily existence and causes hardships throughout their lives, leaving their children to inherit the same difficult standard of living. According to the Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty measure, one in six people in Hawaii live in poverty and Hawaii has the nation’s tenth highest poverty rate with 15 percent of residents, or 200,000 people, living below the poverty line, compared to 14.1 percent nationally. Further, 48% of Hawaii households are either Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed or below the federal poverty level. All areas of the community, from local governments to Head Start and Early Head Start Programs, are impacted; the Social Safety Net is overburdened.Hawaii's unique challenges include a high cost of living and it’s an attractive place for investors to purchase property, which pushes residents out of their homes and creates a large gap between poor and wealthy. Hawaii also has a high rate of poor immigrants entering from Micronesia, Philippines, Tonga, and Samoa. Coupled with a painful national history and cultural suppression, conditions are extremely difficult for the working poor, Native Hawaiians, and other ethnic populations.Hawaii could see significant improvements by offering simple pathways to rise above poverty like classes on how to write a strong resume or creating a safe place to address health concerns or substance abuse issues. Each pathway offered is a potential pathway out of poverty and a step towards prosperity.

Solution Overview

Treating poverty as a condition through Transition To Success is an approach that treats families with dignity, helps them identify the root causes of poverty rather than offering a “band aid” approach to poverty symptoms, such as the need for temporary support. By focusing on 19 domains for healthy lives and “Dream Mapping,” service providers will create motivation to change, offering individuals a roadmap and a measurement tool that provides the movements out of poverty through short- and long-term goals. The impact of the model over the grant period is broad, in that we anticipate training over 20,000 direct service providers in the model across five sectors. We will scale the TTS model through trainings and certifications offered to hundreds of organizations who help address poverty and crisis in Hawaii. Marginalized individuals will access resources, education, employment, and financial management skills to help move themselves out of poverty so they can begin to feel that they are valued and contributing members of the community.The benefits of TTS will go beyond the individuals and families of Hawaii who rise out of poverty. It will benefit Hawaii’s economy and the social safety net by reducing the toll on healthcare and education. Government funding would then shift to poverty prevention and the support of rising above poverty. Furthermore, we will develop a playbook that can be duplicated across the US and around the globe.

+ Read More

Project Funders

  • Samuel N. & Mary Castle Foundation 2016 - 2019
  • Hawaii Community Foundation 2016
  • American Savings Bank - Kahiau Employee Giving 2017 - 2017

More Solutions Like This

Public assistance

Behavioral Ideas Lab, Inc.

“Cash Plus Change”: More Impactful Cash Transfers Using Behavioral Science

Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Nigeria