Hawaii Children's Action Network


Hawaii Children’s Action Network (HCAN) is the only nonprofit in the state solely committed to advocating for children in early childhood.  We believe every child deserves a fighting chance to realize their full potential and focus our work on advancing public policy that impacts the systems that serve children from birth to age 8 (early childhood).


We are focused on the early childhood years, when 90% of physical brain development occurs, and when children develop crucial cognitive and social-emotional skills that impact the rest of their lives and can predict their success.  Research shows that children with strong early development environments such as access to early learning and a safe and stable home environment thrive as adults.  Unfortunately, disadvantaged children are the least likely to live in those environments.  The current state of Hawaii’s children:

  • 49% of young children NOT in school
  • 71% of 4th graders NOT proficient in reading
  • 70% of 8th graders NOT proficient in math
  • 15% live in poverty
  • 41% of children living in households with a high housing cost burden
  • 32% live in single-parent households

Once a child that has fallen behind in reading or math, she/he is more likely to drop out of high school, work in low-wage jobs, and continue a cycle of poverty.


We work to address the root causes of poverty and inequity.  Our current priorities are:

  • affordable childcare for all children;
  • universal pre-school;
  • paid family leave;
  • comprehensive developmental screenings for all children; and
  • quality early intervention services.