We awarded Raynette Ah Chong a Pro Bono Award at the Access to Justice Commissions’ 2017 Pro Bono Celebration. She bravely stepped out and spoke up on behalf of the roughly 1,000 foster families in the state, serving as class representative in a case that has continued for nearly four years.Ms. Ah Chong and her family have opened their home to more than 100 foster children over the last 20 years and continue to volunteer with Hawai‘i’s foster care system.
In recent years, Ms. Ah Chong and many other foster parents found it impossible to adequately provide for their foster children with the state’s $529 monthly expenses reimbursement that had not been adjusted for 24 years. Had the reimbursement been adjusted for inflation during that time, it would have increased to over $970.
Instead of abandoning the foster care system as many financially stretched foster parents have done, Ms. Ah Chong sought to improve it by challenging the state’s refusal to adequately increase the reimbursement. Her efforts as a foster parent and an advocate for foster families are a shining example of selflessness, courage, and a commitment to justice and equity.