Olympia– State Sen. T’wina Nobles has sponsored legislation to provide financial education and support to youth experiencing foster care.

Senate Bill 5824, the Fostering Finances Act, will address a gap in financial preparedness for youth who are aging out of foster care by providing an opportunity for all youth experiencing foster care to open a bank account.

“When I experienced foster care, I participated in transitional and independent living programs which taught me how to budget and encouraged my growth in financial independence,” said Nobles. “The similar learning environment provided in this bill was how I truly learned responsibility, and that prepared me for adulthood. I want that same opportunity for independence for our dependent youth.”

The bill instructs the state Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) to ensure that every youth experiencing foster care at age 14 or older can open a bank account prior to the end of the youth’s dependency. DCYF will also be responsible for depositing a minimum of $25 per month into this account.

The legislation also charges DCYF to convene a stakeholder group which will develop an implementation plan and ensure statewide access to developmentally and culturally appropriate financial education for dependent youth ages 12 and older. DCYF will report on the status of the program and the work of the stakeholder group by Dec. 1, 2022. The program is to be operational by Jan. 1, 2023.

“If we want kids to succeed, we need to make sure they have the right tools for their respective needs,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah), cosponsor of the bill. “I can’t think of a better investment than something that introduces and reinforces the value of financial security. The benefits of this bill could change lives forever and far exceed the state’s investment.”

The text of the bill is available here. The 2022 legislation will end in 60 days.