A small investment to help kids succeed

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A small investment to help kids succeed

Child Savings Accounts put more kids on track for success in education

By Jennifer Tran and Melinda Young-Flynn - January 28, 2019

Communities throughout our state would be much stronger if everyone – especially people who traditionally face barriers to opportunity – had access to financial stability and postsecondary education. This session, lawmakers are proposing commonsense bills that would provide more families with that access. House Bill 1592 and Senate Bill 5704 would put kids on track for lifelong success in education by establishing a Child Savings Account program for kindergartners in public schools whose families have lower incomes. By enacting and investing in this transformative program, the legislature could advance equity and help all young Washingtonians have a strong start in life.

CSAs are long-term savings or investment accounts that provide incentives to help children – especially low-income children and children of color – build dedicated savings for postsecondary education.The broad-ranging benefits of CSAs for kids and families include:

  • Raising the educational expectations of kids and their families: Parents of children with a CSA account are more likely to see their child as college bound, which in turn has a positive influence on children’s academic performance.2
  • Improving educational attainment: Low- and moderate-income children with college savings (even with modest amounts) are three times more likely to go to college.3
  • Health benefits: CSAs have been tied to lower rates of maternal depression for mothers as well as better social-emotional development for kids.4

CSAs can be particularly beneficial for children from low- and middle-income families and for many families of color. Due to persistent historically racist policies, institutions, and structures, many families of color and their kids are starting off on uneven footing in our state – facing multiple and intersecting barriers to opportunity. A CSA program in Washington state would help to level the playing field.

This session, the legislature has an opportunity to make a transformative investment in a statewide CSA program to give young Washingtonians a strong start in life.

See our new fact sheet, Child Savings Accounts: Putting more kids on track for success in education, for more details.

And see our previous fact sheet, Child Savings Accounts: A Healthy Investment, for more on how CSAs can pave the way to health.


1.) Campaign for Every Kids Future.

2.) Kim et al., “Child Development Accounts and Parental Educational Expectations for Young Children: Early Evidence from a Statewide Social Experiment,” (2015); Meni, ”Scholarly Research on Children’s Savings,” (2016); Rauscher et al., ”We’re Going to Do This Together,” (2016); Elliot et al., “Math Achievement and Children’s Savings: Implications for Child Development Accounts,” (2010).

3.) Elliot et al., “Small-dollar children’s savings accounts and children’s college outcomes by income level,” (2013).

4.) Huang et al., “Impacts of Child Development Accounts on maternal depressive symptoms: Evidence from a randomized statewide policy experiment,” (2014).