Hawaii lawmakers mull bills for at-risk youth


HONOLULU — Hawaii lawmakers are considering bills aimed at helping at-risk youth.

One would offer mental health treatment for juveniles in the Hawaii court system. The bill would also provide for substance abuse treatment, with the aim of keeping young people from returning to the court system.

Law enforcement agencies and justice experts have testified in support of the measure. They say most young people who come before the courts suffer from mental health problems or use drugs.

Another bill would build safe places in the community for young people. The proposed safe places would help young people deal with issues involving violence, pregnancy, drugs and suicide. They would also offer services aimed at helping young people get through school and build life skills.

The House Finance Committee will consider them Friday.