“Accounts at birth” is an important idea at the frontier of savings and asset-building policy. How to make them effective is an important topic for research. This paper presents ideas and initial findings from the experience of American Indian nations—America's first asset-builders—with such policies. It describes the motivations for creating “minors' accounts,” which are offered by approximately 70 tribes. These tribes are the only jurisdictions in the nation to offer universal, unrestricted accounts for children. Increasingly, they also are using conditions and incentives to promote their policy goals. Their experiences offer important insights for mainstream policy makers and program managers (in the United States and elsewhere) about how to design effective children's accounts policy. The paper closes by stressing a two-way flow of information, as ideas and research findings from non-tribal communities offer new ways to strengthen tribal minors' account policies and further Native nations' welfare-enhancing goals.
Jorgensen, Miriam, and Peter Morris. 2010. "Tribal Experience with Children's Accounts." Children and Youth Services Review 32 (11):1528-1537. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.03.017.