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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 credit history and issues

In the initial section, “Understand Your Credit History And Issues,” we recommend using Money Habitudes as a tool to comprehend your financial experiences.

Reflect on your experience with credit and identity theft. Consider your approach to credit and financial issues. How knowledgeable are you about money and credit? Has your identity ever been stolen, and if so, how did you resolve it? 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 fun and easy for people to talk about money and understand their spending habits. Revealing individuals’ money personalities, this tool illuminates the factors shaping their financial habits and actions. Whether employed as an icebreaker or a standalone class, it serves 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 …