Financial Empowerment Training for Social Service Programs: A Scan of Community-Based Initiatives.

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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
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This report represents the results of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's effort to learn what tools local service providers need to help their clients increase their financial capabilities. Through the field scan they contacted fourteen organizations that provide financial empowerment training to their case managers and frontline staff. They learned how programs have succeeded -- or struggled -- in providing training, tools, and resources to change case manager and client behavior. They conducted in-depth interviews of five organizations that represented diverse approaches to offering this type of training: Seattle-King County Asset Building Collaborative, United Way of Greater Cincinnati, Louisville Metro/Living Cities, The Financial Clinic, and the State of Minnesota. Findings indicate: (1) Case managers and financial educators have a common understanding of the financial issues and challenges facing clients notwithstanding differences in the context of service or geography; (2) Case managers' level of motivation to learn financial empowerment varies widely; (3) Case managers' lack of confidence regarding financial issues may be an obstacle to their integrating financial information into their work with clients, even following training; (4) Case managers struggle with when and how to incorporate financial empowerment into their work with clients; (5) Some programs encourage case managers to start the financial education discussion by learning first where the participant wants to start; (6) Because clients' financial issues vary broadly, some initiatives provide follow-up training, follow-up technical assistance, or a resource and referral network for case managers; and (7) There were unanticipated benefits of training a large group of case managers and nonprofit staff in the same ways and using the same tools. (Author abstract modified)

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