Financial newsletters, workshops, and coaching were offered to Head Start families because these families are financially vulnerable and because parents of young children may be in the midst of a key teachable moment. The data presented in this brief by Peggy Olive, Collin O’Rourke, and J. Michael Collins confirm Head Start families’ vulnerable financial positions.
During the 2010-2011 school year, families in 16 counties across Wisconsin participated in the Money $mart in Head Start (MSiHS) program. This was the program’s second year, following a smaller pilot during the 2009-2010 school year that involved seven counties. The MSiHS program consists of a series of partnerships between local Head Start programs and University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension offices. The MSiHS program offers a mixture of three financial literacy interventions—monthly newsletters, financial education workshops, and financial coaching—to Head Start families. Head Start families were the focus of this program because they have low-incomes and are therefore vulnerable to financial shocks, and because parenting a young child may be a teachable moment when parents are particularly focused on the future.