Articles & Special Issues Financial Capability Financial Inclusion

Growing Financial Assets for Foster Youths: Expanded Child Welfare Responsibilities, Policy Conflict, and Caseworker Role Tension

The study reported in this article explores the role child welfare workers play in elevating the financial capability of foster youths transitioning to adulthood. It draws on an examination of Opportunity Passport, a component of the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, which operates across the United States. The authors held in-depth, structured interviews with eight staff and 38 current and former foster youths age 18 years and older in four sites across three states. Findings indicate that (a) program participants require professional financial assistance that is beyond the role of the traditional child welfare caseworker; (b) caseworkers who address financial capability in young adults face uncertainty in their roles; and (c) broader policies relevant to young adults transitioning to adulthood exhibit tension, if not conflict, regarding enhancing financial capability. The authors highlight the importance of expanding the role of caseworkers to incorporate elements of financial capability in serving the needs of foster youths.


Peters, C. M., Sherraden, M. S., & Kuchinski, A. M. (2016). Growing financial assets for foster youths: Expanded child welfare responsibilities, policy conflict, and caseworker role tension. Social Work, 61(4), 340–348. doi:10.1093/sw/sww042