Center on Assets, Education, and Inclusion

The mission of AEDI is to create and study innovations related to asset development, education, and financial inclusion that result in opportunities across the life course for low-income children and families, in the U.S. and around the globe, for the purposes of climbing out of poverty and up the economic ladder.

Investing in children is fundamental for families, communities, and the U.S. economy. Child Development Accounts (CDAs), also called Children’s Savings Accounts (CSAs), offer a proven and efficient model for investing in all children.

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Child Development Accounts (CDAs)—also called Child Savings Accounts (CSAs)—provide assets and encourage saving and asset building for children. (See the accompanying document, The Case for a Nationwide Child Development Account Policy.) An efficient, trusted, and sustainable system for delivering CDAs is already being implemented in some states. A nationwide policy would require federal funding and changes in policy and practice to deliver CDAs for all children with a seed deposit as early as birth.

Research shows that CDAs have positive effects on asset building and healthy child and family development, with greater effects for people of color and low-income households. Asset building over time is the key to these results. Positive effects for children and families occur even before the money is spent for education.

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We should not lose sight of moments in our collective history when we, as a country, have dared to dream and, as a result, were able to leap forward. The race to the moon was just such a moment, when we were “pushed” by the Soviet Union’s early advantage in the “space race” to unshackle ourselves from our limited imagination and as a result developed new technology to explore space. The U.S. foster care system needs a similar push to move away from an exclusive focus on survival policies for foster care youth and move toward including an asset-empowered agenda that can provide youth in foster care with the opportunity to thrive. This report looks at adapting CSAs to work better for Foster Care Youth.

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Making Education Work for the Poor, The Potential of Children's Savings Accounts

Willliam Elliott and Melinda Lewis

  • Uses authors' personal stories to illustrate inequities in education system

  • Features research conducted with a clear public purpose in mind, in order to increase the relevance and applicability of findings to public policy conversations

  • Considers how research resonates with people's values and how the proposed policy intervention aligns with American ideals

  • Discusses an opportunity pipeline that begins at or near birth and extends beyond graduation into young adulthood

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