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10 Tips from the Financial Empowerment Bootcamp in Texas

Baltimore and Maryland CASH staff  recently traveled to Austin, TX to give a training for providers on how to work with clients on financial issues. The training was sponsored by United Way for Greater Austin. The CASH Campaigns also shared Top Ten tips from the Boot Camp that can not only help practitioners work with clients  but also help you with your own personal finances.

The number one tip? Giving people the confidence to make better financial decisions and to access existing resources can change their financial reality. Most people don’t have someone to talk to specifically about their finances besides a bankruptcy attorney or credit counselor.

Read all ten tips  here.

 

Listen to a New Podcast on Financial Stability

Robin McKinney, Director of the Maryland CASH Campaign, and Dr. Jodi Jacobson Frey, Associate Professor and Chair of the Financial Social Work Initiative at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, presented together on a recent podcast episode, “Financial Social Work: Advancing the Economic Stability and Capability of Individuals, Families, and Communities” with co-host, Dr. Peter Sobota. In this episode, Dr. Jacobson Frey and Ms. McKinney discuss their work with the Financial Social Work Initiative at the UMSSW and the Maryland CASH Campaign. They talk about ways in which social workers can work to improve and sustain clients’ financial capability, while collaborating with community members and professionals from a variety of disciplines, to improve economic conditions for individuals and communities through direct practice, advocacy, policy development, and research. The podcast episode is freely available on the inSocialWork Podcast Series website at http://www.socialwork.buffalo.edu/podcast/episode.asp?ep=126

 

MD CASH Director McKinney Chosen as 2013 Leading Women Honoree

The Daily Record annually publishes a list of women 40 years of age and younger who have already made tremendous impact with their careers. In 2013, MD CASH Director Robin McKinney has been chosen as one of the Leading Women. This year’s honorees will be honored at a dinner Thursday, Dec. 5 at the Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

Read more: http://thedailyrecord.com/2013/09/27/the-daily-record-announces-its-2013-leading-women-honorees/#ixzz2g7f2B7hg

Join us in congratulating Director McKinney on her past and future success!

 

Foster Children Get Help in Combating ID Theft

They’re tempting victims; federal law increases access to credit reports
By Karen Haywood Queen for www.creditcards.com

Every year, some of the 26,000 American youth who age out of foster care have to not only start out on their own with no support system, they have to do so while trying to clear up credit problems caused by identity theft and errors. Those problems make it harder to land a job, get an apartment or car, and secure college loans and other types of credit.

Some help is on the way. Thanks to a federal law passed in 2011 — the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act — when foster children turn 16, child welfare agencies must assist them in getting annual credit reports and clearing up any mistakes. State community welfare agencies have been working with credit reporting agencies and are putting systems in place to do just that.

They have their hands full. Children are a favorite target among identity thieves and the crime often goes undetected until they’re grown up and applying for credit or a job.

Foster kids have it even tougher. “Young people in foster care are particularly vulnerable to identity theft,” says Jennifer Miller, partner at the nonprofit organization Child Focus and co-author of a 2013 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation on protecting the credit of youth in foster care. “They may move frequently between foster homes, group homes and relatives, and their Social Security numbers are accessible in each of these placements. For some young people, the identity theft occurs even before they enter the system…”

Maryland provides a good example. In 2012, the state instituted the country’s first law to allow parents and guardians to freeze the credit reports of minors in their care. This would keep fraudsters from opening an account in the child’s name. If the youth does not have a credit record (and they shouldn’t, since a child under 18 is not legally allowed to enter into a contract that would require credit), the parent or guardian can request that the credit reporting agency create a record that prohibits the agency from releasing information about the child to potential creditors.

An even more comprehensive Maryland law takes effect in October that freezes the credit of children after they enter foster care. At age 18, the foster child will be provided information on how to unfreeze the account.

Prevention is just the first step. The law also requires foster care agencies to act to resolve any issues in the child’s credit report. The credit reporting bureaus have been working with Maryland and other states to make pulling records and resolving problems easier.

For instance, traditionally if a parent or guardian wanted to access a minor’s credit record, they would have to write a letter to each credit bureau and send it by post. New electronic systems will allow child welfare agencies to access the records of foster children in large batches.

The eventual goal is to be able to sort issues by creditors and remediate any problems in batches, too, says Robin McKinney, director of the Maryland CASH Campaign, a nonprofit network of organizations promoting financial stability for working families. If, say, 50 kids have had utility accounts opened in their names, the Department of Social Services could work with the utility company to clear up all 50 accounts at once, she says.

The final piece is getting foster children ready to handle money and credit on their own as adults. A Maryland Department of Human Resources initiative, Ready By 21, works to connect youth with the financial resources, education and coaching they need to be ready to make good financial decisions when they age out of foster care (in Maryland, that happens at age 21), according to McKinney. “We want the ability to build credit to be in the hands of these youth,” she says.

Read more: http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/foster_children-id_theft-1270.php#ixzz2g7dCPzCu

 

Maryland CASH Campaign featured in Sacramento Bee

Six Consumer, Veteran, Farm Groups Tell FCC: Reduce Fraud By Ending Same-day Distribution Of Lifeline Cell Phones

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2013 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Six groups representing consumers, veterans and rural Americans have filed letters with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging the federal agency to further restrict potential abuse of the wireless Lifeline phone subsidy program by barring the practice of same-day distribution of such phones.

Available online at http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520920304, one letter was filed by five groups:  Community Action Partnership (CAP), Consumer Action (CA), Maryland CASH (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) Campaign, the National Association of American Veterans (NAAV), and the National Consumers League (NCL). Available online athttp://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/view?id=7520920351, the second letter was filed by the National Grange.

 

 

MD CASH to Offer Webinar on the Financial Stability Pathway Project, June 28th, 2013

Social Works: How a Baltimore Network is Building a Pathway to Financial Stability

 In uncertain times, linked service delivery and resource-sharing among organizations can create a more supportive, local safety net that empowers clients to access services to meet their financial goals. The need for this is particularly critical in majority low-income cities like Baltimore, where one of every four residents lives below the poverty line and many teeter on the edge of self-sufficiency.

 Please join the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program’s AssetPlatform.org, theMaryland CASH Campaign (Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope), and the University of Maryland School of Social Work for a webinar on June 28th from 11:00 AM- 12:00 PM EDT to learn how a network of financial stability organizations in Baltimore is approaching the need together, connected through smart referrals and evidence-based training in the basics of financial social work. See how online resources and in-depth training can empower your front-line service providers, and be among the first to hear results from a University of Maryland study that shows that capacity building interventions can make a difference in the fight for financial stability.

Click here to registerhttps://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=nlmctjj34jby