2015 News

​Event on Child Development Accounts draws crowd from 24 states

More than 100 people gathered in St. Louis in October to hear leading experts discuss the latest research, funding, program and account-structure ideas in the growing field of Child Development Accounts (CDAs).

They came not only from Missouri, but also from Massachusetts, California, Indiana, Oregon and many more states. In all, participants from 24 states and the District of Columbia registered for the Oct. 7-8 event “529s and Child Savings Accounts: New Strategies to Promote Savings and Development for America’s Children.”

“[R]esearch, led by many of the scholars in this room, shows that child accounts contribute to child development, parental expectations for children’s educational achievement, maternal mental health, college access and completion, more savings later in life, and financial capability,” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President and CEO James Bullard said in welcoming remarks.

Policymakers have used findings from the Center for Social Development’s SEED for Oklahoma Kids (SEED OK) experiment​ to inform the development of CDA policies and to make existing policies more inclusive and effective. SEED OK research has directly informed adoption of CDA policies in four states—Maine, Nevada, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Perhaps the most prominent example is in the state of Maine, where SEED OK research directly influenced the decision to change the statewide “opt-in” CDA program reaching about 40 percent of newborns to “opt-out”, including 100 percent of newborns.

At the event, speakers offered insights and lessons on how organizations can begin, improve or expand a 529 or CDA program. Photos, videos and slides from the event are available here.

Held at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, “529s and Child Savings Accounts” was presented at the by the Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability and Community Development, and the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis.