Session: Asset Building and Financial Capability for Children: Lessons and Challenges Learned from Innovative Interventions (Society for Social Work and Research 20th Annual Conference - Grand Challenges for Social Work: Setting a Research Agenda for the Future)

5 Asset Building and Financial Capability for Children: Lessons and Challenges Learned from Innovative Interventions

Thursday, January 14, 2016: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Meeting Room Level-Mount Vernon Square B (Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel)
Cluster: Poverty and Social Policy
Symposium Organizer:
Youngmi Kim, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University
There are increased interests in inclusive and progressive asset-building policy that supports low- and moderate-income children and households to save and invest for their long-term development. Structured institutional supports in these programs are fundamental in fostering children’s financial capability. One policy example is Child Development Accounts (CDAs), universal and progressive savings/investment accounts designed to facilitate an early start to assets accumulation for long-term developmental goals, such as postsecondary education and home ownership. This matched savings accounts provide financial incentives (e.g., savings match) for low- and moderate-income families and financial education to reduce barriers to asset accumulation.

CDAs are grounded in the hypotheses that the institutional supports will increase asset accumulation specifically for children and asset holding positively affects well-being and child development. Holding a dedicated account and accumulated assets affects child development by providing resources for education and other developmental investments. In addition, holding accounts and assets shapes child development through effects on educational expectations, parental behavior, mental health, and parental involvement in child’s development. The asset-holding created by CDAs may provide parents and their children with opportunities to prepare for critical milestones in long-term development.

The policy concept has gained increasing attention and interest from both policymakers and academic scholars in the past few decades. Asset-building policies and programs have been adopted and implemented as a social investment policy in several countries (e.g., Singapore, the United Kingdom, and South Korea) and a couple of states of US (e.g., Maine and Rhode Island).

This symposium discusses lessons and challenges learned from innovative asset-building and financial capability interventions implemented in different social contexts. We present findings from three CDA programs and one community-based financial capability program: (1) SEED for Oklahoma Kids Experiment (SEED OK), (2) YouthSave initiative, (3) Didim SEED Savings Account program, and (4) MYPath Savings Initiative. The first presentation highlights the design, implementation, and early findings from the SEED OK, a large-scale statewide randomized public policy experiment of CDAs in U.S. The SEED OK model provides empirical evidence of an inclusive and sustainable CDA policy that has positive effects on children and families. The second presentation demonstrates effects of the YouthSave initiative, school-based savings program implemented in four developing countries (Ghana, Colombia, Kenya, and Nepal). It reports the findings that bank financial education and services outreach are associated with account uptake and savings. The third presentation examines the Didim SEED savings account program in Korea, nation-wide savings program offered to children in the institutionalized child welfare system. It explores children participants’ educational expectations and their experiences with CDA program. The fourth presentation examines the effectiveness of the MYPath Savings Initiative in San Francisco, U.S.

All four presentations will discuss research findings from various CDAs and community-based financial capability models. We will also identify how different contexts/needs have created these various models and share challenges in program implementation and rigorous evaluation. This symposium will inform social work researchers, policy makers, and practitioners of important insights to refine CDAs programs and policies for children.   

* noted as presenting author
Testing Universal Child Development Accounts at Birth and Policy Impacts
Michael Sherraden, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis; Margaret Clancy, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis; Sondra Beverly, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis; Yunju Nam, PhD, State University of New York at Buffalo; Youngmi Kim, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University; Jin Huang, PhD, Saint Louis University; Lisa Reyes Mason, PhD, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Nora Wikoff, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis; Mark Schreiner, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis; Jason Purnell, PhD, Washington University in Saint Louis
Taking the Bank to the Youth: A Promising Strategy for Increasing Youth Financial Inclusion in Developing Countries
Yung Soo Lee, PhD, Incheon National University; Lissa Johnson, MSW, Washington University in Saint Louis
Promising Roles of the Didim Seed Savings Accounts Program for at-Risk Children's Financial Capability
Youngmi Kim, PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University; Shihhye Lee, MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University
Mypath Savings: Testing a Low-Touch Youth Financial Capability Program
Vernon Loke, PhD, Eastern Washington University
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