Child savings accounts are a healthy investment

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Child savings accounts are a healthy investment

Policymakers can strengthen the well-being of Washingtonians by creating a program that helps kids build savings for the future

By - October 31, 2018

In this upcoming legislative session, policymakers have an excellent opportunity to invest in the lifelong health of kids by starting a statewide child savings account (CSA) program. CSAs are long-term savings accounts established for children early on in life that build until they reach adulthood, and offer incentives that can help accumulate savings along the way. These accounts are most commonly used to pay for higher education, and research has shown that even with a modest amount of savings of less than $500, kids with CSAs are three times more likely to attend college and four times more likely to graduate from college.

And while the educational benefits of CSAs are most widely cited, CSAs more broadly have a positive impact on mothers, families, and kids that can help set them on a path to greater lifelong health and success. Research over the last decade highlights a range of benefits of these accounts, including lower rates of maternal depression for mothers and improved social-emotional health for kids.

CSAs also have a transformative impact for parents and kids. When children have CSAs, parents are more likely to see their children as college-bound – and that in and of itself can shape how children see themselves and how well they do in school. Given that education is one of the most important determinants of long-term health, reaching kids early through CSAs can have a positive ripple effect across their entire lifetime.

About Jennifer Tran, Associate Director of Social and Health Policy

Jennifer’s research at the Budget & Policy Center focuses on social and health policy. She oversees the Center’s Progress in Washington series, which tracks our state’s progress and identifies policy solutions to build a more inclusive economy.

Read more about Jennifer