Using a prevention approach, researchers will report on new interventions aimed at reaching out to and serving disenfranchised populations with limited connection to financial institutions and services. Taking a holistic approach to financial capability and asset building (FCAB), social work can implement interventions to foster financial stability in hard to reach populations. Consistent with the conference theme of access, opportunity and equity, these presentations highlight ways in which FCAB can address unmet need and address disparities in poverty and financial well-being in novel ways. Successful implementation of FCAB interventions in diverse settings (e.g., workplace, credit counseling, and foster care), will lead to greater financial empowerment that contributes to improved financial stability.
The Social Work Grand Challenge of “Building Financial Capability for All” stresses the need to build financial stability and reduce poverty through social work intervention such as the interventions described in this symposium. The first paper describes an innovative approach to adapting standardized screening for problem gambling and brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) into credit counseling settings. Results have the potential to lead to the development of evidence-based interventions for problem gambling in settings where gambling is a problem, but where providers are not currently equipped to intervene. The second paper focuses on the recent proliferation of employee financial wellness programs for low-to-moderate income employees. Results highlight the need for customized programs that effectively meet the needs of our most vulnerable employees. Finally, the third paper focuses on the financial needs of youth aging out of the foster care system. Youth in foster care do not receive financial education or financial socialization by foster parents, and they suddenly have to make major financial decisions when they age out of the foster care system. Not only is this scary for youth, but former foster care youth have to make financial decisions with limited knowledge, guidance, and support. Taking a social work approach to assessing and responding to the complex financial needs of young adults who leave the foster care system may help to ensure financial capability and security of vulnerable young adults for decades to come. Taken together, these three studies have the potential to lead to new programs and policies that can support the financial and overall well-being of low-to-moderate income adults and their families.