Professor William Elliott’s opinion article in the Gotham Gazette argues that poor children and families need both poverty alleviation and child savings programs. Elliott writes, “I am arguing that the drive Americans have demonstrated throughout history comes from more than having enough money to pay the bills each week, it comes from the promise of a better future.”
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.
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.