TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Office of Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today hosted a webinar in partnership with the Florida Quality Parenting Initiative (QPI) to help protect current and former foster youth from ending up in financial trouble. The live webinar, entitled “Your Future, Your Finances,” included topics about budgeting, saving, credit scores and credit safety that are tailored to the experience of aging out of foster care.
“Florida’s foster youth deserve the same opportunities for success as every other child in our state, and we must work together to make sure that happens,” said CFO Atwater. “Financial literacy is one way to set youth up for success from the start.”
Foster youth and alumni are at increased risk for financial hardship once they reach adulthood. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families’ 2015 survey of youth ages 18-22 who have been in foster care:
- 21% do not have money for living expenses after they pay for housing;
- 72% have been homeless;
- 26% have children;
- 56% of those not enrolled in school or educational programs say they do not do so for financially-related reasons;
- 72% are not employed in full or part-time positions.
Webinar attendees first analyzed how needs and wants differ from person to person, and then determined their own needs and wants and how those items are prioritized in their lives. Later, they viewed a completed, sample spending plan and were challenged to create one of their own using the downloadable blank spending-plan worksheet. Attendees learned what a credit score is and how to create a good credit score or improve a poor one. Finally, there was a discussion of credit and identity safety as it pertains to youth in foster care, whose personal information is more vulnerable to theft and misuse.
QPI Florida is a web-based service that supports the foster care community and provides resources and training webinars to foster youth and their caregivers. The live aspect of this webinar provided an opportunity for real-time interactions with a question and answer period after the presentation. The webinar will also be accessible in video form on QPI’s website for future viewing in both English and Spanish. Caregivers who take a quiz after watching the video may be able to receive hours for relicensing credit.
CFO Atwater and the Florida Department of Financial Services are committed to helping citizens achieve financial literacy. It is important that foster youth and caregivers understand how personal finances help shape a responsible life.
For more information and resources related to financial literacy, visit the Department’s Your Money Matter$ website.
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Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services, serves as Florida’s State Fire Marshal, and is a member of the Florida Cabinet. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government; reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses; and providing transparency and accountability in spending.