“Parents in Head Start offer financial educators a special opportunity,” says J. Michael Collins. “Parents of young children start to think about the future and address financial issues for the first time. On a federal level, there is growing interest and support for integrating financial literacy into Head Start services.”
A number of University of Wisconsin -Extension offices have been offering Financial Coaching to families in their community who have children enrolled in Head Start early childhood programs. As part of a broader field study, a team of Family Living county colleagues including Bev Doll, Cyndy Jacoby, Mary Knellwolf, Luane Meyer, Peggy Olive, Jane Schaaf and Ruth Schriefer launched a financial literacy pilot with 190 Head Start families in the fall of 2009. With support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Center for Financial Security at UW-Madison, the project’s aim was to evaluate how setting goals, having a financial coach, and access to financial literacy information might improve financial outcomes. Designated families are offered two home-based coaching sessions – one fall, one spring – with monthly follow-up. This follow-up is determined by client’s needs and could include phone calls, e-mails, office or additional home visits.
For more on Money Smart in Head Start, please visit the program’s website.