Methods: To inform the savings group curriculum, we conducted structured qualitative interviews with 14 key informants (i.e., individuals who have experience working with young mothers aged 18-24 with a history of foster care and/or IPV). Service providers (n=14) were predominantly women (85.7%), White (71.4%) or Black/African American (21.4%), and 35-44 years old (50.0%). Most were administrators (50.0%) or direct-practice workers (21.4%) with over 10 years of IPV (57.1%) and/or foster care (42.8%) experience. Data were audio-recorded and transcribed. Major themes were identified using a thematic analytic approach. Specifically, we used an inductive approach to code transcripts, grouped codes into categories, and refined categories into themes.
Results: Three predominant themes were identified from our analysis. First, substance use as a coping mechanism emerged as a major theme. Key informants (79%) noted that young women commonly use marijuana, alcohol, and other drugs to cope with IPV experiences, with participants noting that marijuana was the most used. A second key theme was savings group strategies to encourage financial stability. Nearly all participants identified one or more successful strategies: focusing on addressing immediate needs, utilizing apps for financial tracking, and finding a location to hide money outside of the home. A third theme identified was referral to treatment for those experiencing substance use disorders.
Conclusions/Implications: Our findings suggest that additional research is needed to further explore how marijuana budgeting can be incorporated into savings group curricula for this population. To honor the lived experience and voice, addressing legal marijuana use cannot be ignored by research. Current studies examining financial literacy and savings groups fail to include information on marijuana budgeting. Arizona Proposition 207 led to the legalization of marijuana in 2020, which creates a new opportunity for financial literacy programs to address budgeting around marijuana use. In each interview where marijuana use was mentioned, it was listed as a negative coping skill. This leads to an inconsistency on whether and how marijuana budgeting should be addressed within savings group interventions.