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.