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

Publication Date



The study reported in this article explores the role child welfare workers play in elevating the financial capability (FC) 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 FC 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 FC. The authors highlight the importance of expanding the role of caseworkers to incorporate elements of FC in serving the needs of foster youths.

Document Type



Financial Inclusion


Financial Capability

Original Citation

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


Financial Capability and Asset Building


financial capability, child-welfare system