Using the Lōkahi Wheel: A Culturally Sensitive Approach to Engage Native Hawaiians in Child Welfare Services


  • Tammy Kaho‘olemana Martin University of Hawai‘i, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work
  • Meripa Godinet University of Hawai‘i, Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work


Cultural Awareness, Child Welfare and Native Hawaiians, Cultural Sensitive tools, Lōkahi Wheel


Native Hawaiians are overrepresented in the child welfare system in Hawai‘i. However, culturally relevant tools to address this phenomenon are often not available.  Existing assessment instruments can result in misperceptions of the needs of Native Hawaiians leading to underdeveloped interventions for this population. This paper describes a culturally sensitive tool, the Lōkahi Wheel, that was adapted for use in the assessment process of families in involuntary services such as child protective services. This article will also discuss the Hawaiian worldview, the Lōkahi Wheel and its 6 domains, relevance of the Lōkahi Wheel in involuntary circumstances such as child welfare, and ways to implement the Lōkahi Wheel.  Implications for future research will also be identified.


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