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A Multigenerational Approach to Addressing Wealth Inequities

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The birth of a child should be considered a joyous occasion, but for financially vulnerable families, it is often accompanied by financial stresses. These stresses can lead to long-term negative effects for both parents and children. Studies show that children who grow up in households with financial instability are more likely to struggle in school, have lower job earnings and experience family instability as adults. 

The Chicago Asset Building for Children program (Chicago ABCs) will drive economic opportunity for 4,600 financially vulnerable families by providing child savings accounts (CSAs) deposits of up to $750 for the birth of a newborn and cash transfers of $50 each month over 18 months for the parent(s). Chicago ABCs will build on two recent public commitments: (1) the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office universal CSA program that will provide $50 for every child born in the state starting in 2021and (2) The Chicago Department of Public Health’s Family Connects program that will offer all newborn families at four hospitals in underserved communities home visits by nurses, who will evaluate needs and connect them to resources. 

Cash transfers and home visiting programs are proven strategies that provide families immediate and direct financial, emotional, and physical support when a child is born. This multigenerational approach combines these strategies to stabilize financially vulnerable families and establish an asset that will contribute to assets and wealth in the future. 

Chicago ABCs’ brings together six multi-sector public and private together, with The Chicago Community Trust serving as a lead partner. This work is part of the Trust’s Growing Household Wealth strategy, a key components of the Trust’s threepart strategy to close the racial and ethnic wealth gap 

This panel session will take a deep dive into the Chicago ABC program, including how multi-sector collaborations and multigenerational interventions for financially vulnerable families are vital to addressing greater wealth disparities 

Confirmed Panelists

Unconfirmed Panelists

  • Jody Chung Blaylock, Associate Director of Research and Policy, Heartland Alliance 
  • Jennifer Vidas, Deputy Commissioner at the Chicago Department of Public Health, Chicago Department of Public Health 
  • Ebony Scott, Chicago Site Director, Family Independence Initiative  

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