State to cover expenses for teen stowaway with federal help

Photo: Chris Sugidono, The Maui News
Photo: Chris Sugidono, The Maui News

The 15-year-old boy who stowed away in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines jet from San Jose to Kahului remains in the custody of the Hawaii Dept. of Human Services Tuesday.

Child Welfare Services officials are working with the appropriate agencies to get the teen back home to California.

With the teen spending his third night at the hospital, KHON2 wanted to know who’s paying for his care and his trip back home.

The state Dept. of Human Services as well as a key senator would not speak to the specific case of the teenager, but they did say that the state would be covering the cost of caring for the child while officials figure out what happens next.

“There are a lot of young people who come to Hawaii either from another state or another country, so what happens is the state expects the parents to cover the cost of the flight etc.,” said Sen. Suzanne Chun-Oakland (D), Human Services Committee chair. “If that is not possible, the state will pay for it, and we do have federal title for monies that will go toward the reimbursement of the state for those expenses.”

State Human Services Dept. Deputy Director Barbara Yamashita says, “a lot of our services depending on our situation — and I’m not speaking specifically on this one — but often times there’s a federal match where we’re able to get some federal dollars for the care. It really just varies on the situation the family is in, the qualifications and all of that.”

Yamashita confirmed that the boy is being cared for at a hospital in Honolulu, but declined to name the facility.

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