Nona Tsikhelashvili did her PFP fellowship at the EPIC ‘Ohana Inc. (Effective Planning and Innovative Communication) from October 9th to November 12th, 2018 in the state of Hawaii, Honolulu. The organization has its representation in every city of Hawaii. EPIC works on enhancing the welfare of children. Their primary responsibilities are:
- Strengthening biological family in order to prevent child care by the state,
- Help to reunify children in the care system with their biological families,
- Preparing young adults in state care for independent life.
The supervisor gave Nona Tsikhelashvili the opportunity of meeting the Director of the department of social work at Hawaii University. The government gives a Master’s Degree scholarship to the student willing to work in the field of children welfare. The government makes a contract with a student according to which the student is obliged to work for at least two years as a state social worker after completing the university. The existing practice allows for a child welfare system in Hawaii to have qualified staff who knows the existing laws and regulations, services and methods and tools to help make a decision in the child’s best interest. Nona had an opportunity to meet judges working on the family court who deal only with family related issues. The court has various services developed in relation to crime prevention; It also monitors public services and holds a child interrogation technique based on the best interests of the child. Nona secured funding for her Outbound Project offered by the Professional Fellows Program to share in Georgia. Within the framework of the project, Nona’s supervisor from EPIC will visit Georgia in May 2019. During the visit, Nona and her supervisor will meet with the representatives of State and non-governmental organizations, that provide various services to children and families in state care.