Providing Financial Education Services to Parents in the Child Support System
Financial education services for adults
Financial education is an essential component of asset building services. While a participant may not be eligible for an IDA, he or she can still develop useful financial literacy skills with an asset building agency. The core financial literacy skills covered in AFI programs are around goal setting, managing a budget, credit and debt management, understanding financial services and taxes, and saving for the future. To obtain more in-depth information about these areas, please refer to the Core Competencies for Financial Education fact sheet on the www.IDAResources.org Web site, which is one of many other resources in the Financial Education section of the Assets for Independence Resource Center Web site at www.IDAResources.org.
Adult learners often approach the topic of household finances with previously conceived beliefs and experiences from their own lives. A successful financial education program will respect what adult learners bring to the table, while also helping them improve their knowledge. For more information about delivering financial education to adults, see the fact sheet on Designing and Delivering Effective Financial Literacy Education for Adult Learners on the www.IDAResources.org Web site.
How can custodial and noncustodial parents benefit from financial education?
Financial education is particularly relevant to families involved in the child support system who must take into account the role that child support plays in their finances, whether as a source of debt or income. Skills taught around budgeting, accessing public benefits, and controlling credit and other sources of debt will all be useful for these families.
Financial education can help custodial parents maximize their child support income by learning the benefits of being banked, avoiding alternative financial services, paying down debt, and saving. Noncustodial parents—with and without child support debt—can learn strategies for wiser money management in order to stay current on child support payments.
How can child support and AFI partner to provide financial education?
Together, child support offices and AFI agencies can work on incorporating child support information into existing AFI financial literacy curricula, and then refer child support-involved parents to AFI programs to make sure they benefit from those curricula. For more information, see the tip sheets listed under the sections for How Asset Building and Child Support Agencies will Benefit from Partnering and Strategies for Partnering on the www.IDAResources.org Web site.
There are several resources available for partners interested in modifying their financial literacy curricula to include information about child support. The Center for Family Policy and Practice (CFFPP) in Wisconsin highlights the importance of offering financial education targeted to noncustodial parents in the report Financial Literacy and Low-Income Noncustodial Parents. CFFPP has also published a sample financial literary curriculum entitled Financial Literacy Issues and Information for Noncustodial Parents. Some of the examples are specific to Wisconsin, but the curriculum addresses general banking, credit reports, and other information relevant to noncustodial parents. For more information, see the curriculum on the CFFPP Web site.
To find an AFI grantee near you, go to http://www.IDAResources.org/Map.