Session: Using Multiple Research Methods to Examine Factors that Facilitate and Impede Saving in Children’s Savings Accounts: A Symposium (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

131 Using Multiple Research Methods to Examine Factors that Facilitate and Impede Saving in Children’s Savings Accounts: A Symposium

Cluster: Poverty and Social Policy
Symposium Organizer:

LeAnn Wittman, MSW, University of Kansas
Saturday, January 16, 2010: 4:30 PM-6:15 PM
Pacific Concourse A (Hyatt Regency)
Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED) is a national policy, practice, and research initiative designed to test the efficacy of universal and progressive accounts for children and youth. Asset-building policies and programs that use matched savings accounts to help people of modest means build resources for long-term social and economic development have emerged in the US and in a number of other countries in recent years, following Michael Sherraden's proposal for a system of universal accounts opened at birth with progressive funding. While some states have implemented matched savings accounts for children's postsecondary education for targeted populations, specifically low-income families, SEED is the first systematic effort to create and test matched savings accounts for children and youth in the United States. Moreover, it aims to inform the development of a universal, progressive children's savings account policy in the United States.

The SEED initiative included twelve community-based organizations that operated children and youth savings account programs across the country and Puerto Rico. A total of 1,171 participants opened SEED accounts, including 495 in one community which was the location of a longitudinal study using a quasi-experimental design. Three national organizations and two universities have worked together to organize, implement, and study SEED with financial support from private foundations. These national partners are CFED, the Research Triangle Institute (RTI), the Center for Social Development at Washington University, the Initiative on Financial Security of the Aspen Institute, and the University of Kansas.

The proposed symposium will include presentations of three SEED research studies conducted at the University of Kansas. Each study uses a different methodology, providing the KU research team with an opportunity to examine commonalities and divergence in findings across studies. The central theme which links the studies is the exploration of factors which facilitate or impede savings. The first qualitative study utilizes in-depth interviews with caregivers of SEED participants at two distinct program sites to discern their perceptions of the facilitators and barriers of saving. The second study uses focus groups with parents of SEED children to learn about the relationship between social networks and asset development. The final presentation uses concept mapping, a well established mixed methods research approach that combines qualitative processes with multivariate statistical analyses, to understand caregivers' perspectives regarding effective components of a children's college savings accounts (CSA) program. To conclude the symposium, the discussant will synthesize the presentations and facilitate a discussion with all participants.

* noted as presenting author
Social Networks and Asset Development
Jennifer Wheeler Brooks, PhD, University of Kansas
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