Research is showing that financial skills are closely linked to many of the outcome areas that we are trying to improve – employment, education, housing, transportation, and health. Yet while in foster care, most young people have little opportunity to learn and practice financial skills. To address this gap, we have developed a financial literacy and matched savings program to allow our youth to get real world experience with money management and asset building.
The core components of our program are below:
Financial Education: Participants in the program will be required to attend monthly financial literacy classes. In addition to acquiring needed financial knowledge, our youth need to learn about the relationship between money and our attitudes and behaviors. We will use a research-based and proven curriculum designed specifically for foster youth and their unique needs. Curriculum: Keys to Your Financial Future
Matched Savings Account: In addition to helping participants set up banking accounts, they will also be able to open an Individual Development Account (IDA). The IDA is a matched savings account that helps our youth with purchasing productive assets and other critical financial needs.
Additional details on the program are below:
- Participant’s savings must be from earned income or other approved source
- Matching rates are either 2:1 or 1:1 depending on asset category
- Lifetime maximum match = $3,000
- IDA enrollment requires completion of two modules of our financial curriculum at which time the IDA account will be opened with an initial $50 deposit reward.
- Approved assets include the following: transportation (driver’s education, car purchase), education (tuition or other direct expenses), housing (first month’s rent or deposit), employment (business start-up), credit building or repair (small credit builder loans).
- Must participate in our MyPath program.
We estimate that we will need to raise approximately $25,000 in 2017 to cover the required savings matches. Read more about our current fundraising needs: Our Needs
For youth interested in participating in this program: Participate
For more in-depth research on the best practice program from Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative: Jim Casey Research