A Primer on Children’s Savings Accounts: Their Promise and Limitations

Blog post by Kelly Harrington
August 9, 2023

Boston Indicators   (Boston)

CSA programs aim to help participants boost savings and assets, increase college attendance, and develop financial skills among parents and children.   

They do this by providing children with a savings account and usually some modest cash contributions into the account. Despite these laudable goals most accounts wind up with small-dollar balances due to limited cash transfers from program to recipient and their reliance on family savings. Though CSA programs can benefit families in many ways, most programs aren’t currently designed to make much of an impact on racial wealth gaps. Still, with some careful adjustments these programs could do more to help reduce racial wealth gaps.