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Socio-economic and institutional factors that facilitate and prevent low income African American Parents

Johnson, Toni
Children's Savings Account
Publication type: 
Journal Article

National and international reports have established the legitimate use of child savings accounts (CSAs) as asset-building vehicles for youths. However, many U.S. programs report difficulty in recruiting parents for CSA programs and note the failure of some parents to take full advantage of the financial match available when they do participate. This article reports some of the findings from a mixed-method study that examines a group of African American parents' involvement with a U.S. child savings account program known as Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship, and Downpayment (SEED). The elements that parents perceive to be critical to a CSA program are identified and those elements are then examined as they relate to the SEED program. Analyses revealed six themes where elements that parents identified as important were also elements that were frequently demonstrated in the SEED program. However, the study uncovered serious challenges encountered by the SEED staff and lessons learned in the process. Findings present information that may help increase African American-American parent involvement in CSAs and other asset-building programs.


Johnson. T (2011). Socio-economic and institutional factors that facilitate and prevent low income African American Parents’ Involvement in a Children’s Savings Program.   Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 20(3), 167-183.

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