Teaching personal finance to foster care youth

The new “Protecting the Credit of Youth in Foster Care” guide recommends using Money Habitudes.  The foster care report was prepared for the Annie E. Casey Foundation by Jennifer Miller and Rebecca Robuck of Childfocus.

foster care youth credit guideA good resource for those working with youth in foster care, the report lays out why credit is such a big issue for this population:

Every year, more than 26,000 young  people age out of foster care, many with  no permanent home and no parent to  help them navigate the road to adulthood … Stolen  identities and bad credit pose yet another  obstacle on the road to independence. For youth who have faced years of instability  and uncertainty, bad credit stands in the  way of some basic life activities, such as  renting an apartment, buying a car, getting  a job, having a bank account or securing  student loans.

The Protecting the Credit of Youth in Foster Care guide adopts the youth empowerment approach with three primary goals:

  1. Educating young people about what credit is and how it can impact their futures.
  2. Clearing credit reports to help youth  on the road to financial health.
  3. Equipping youth to maintain good  credit in the future

Helping youth in foster care understand their own credit history and issues

Within the first section, “Understand Your Own Credit History And Issues,” Money Habitudes is recommended as a tool to understand one’s own financial experiences.:

Reflect on your experience with credit and identity theft. Consider your own approach to credit and financial issues. How knowledgeable are you about money and credit? Have you ever had your identity stolen, and if so, how was it resolved? Your attitude and behaviors toward credit and identity theft impact how you work with young people. Regardless of your experience, it’s important to approach young people’s financial education and empowerment in an unbiased way.

Money Habitudes is a resource on attitudes and values about money that also has tools for teens and young adults.

Money Habitudes in financial education programs for youth in foster care

The Money Habitudes activity is often used with young people in high school classes. It’s also used in community classes and counseling – including within the foster care system. Money Habitudes works well as a money management activity for both adults and youth because it looks and feels like a game. It makes it fun and easy for people to talk about money and understand their spending habits. It shows people their money personality and helps people see and understand what has shaped and influenced their financial habits and actions. It can be used as an ice breaker activity or as a stand-alone class. It is often used as a lead-in module for a series of financial education classes.

It is used as:

  1. money conversation starter
  2. financial ice breaker
  3. money personality quiz

Two versions of our money management games are typically used with youth in foster care: Money Habitudes for Teens or Money Habitudes II for Young Adults (18-25). In addition, our award-winning high school finance curriculum for teens is used in foster care programs. It includes both financial skills and relationship skills. Read a case study about foster care financial education using Money Habitudes …