Promoting social and economic justice for oppressed communities is a core value of social work.
Joanna Doran, PhD, California State University, Los Angeles, Min Zhan, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Julie Birkenmaier, PhD, St. Louis University and Christine Callahan, PhD, University of Maryland at Baltimore
It is critical for social workers to help promote Financial Capability (a combination of a person's financial knowledge and availability of appropriate financial products in their environment) and Asset Building (strategic acquisition of property, education, or business) (FCAB) of vulnerable communities. Yet current social workers' conceptions of their profession rarely include such FCAB elements as understanding the inequities in assets within the larger context of poverty; checking clients' credit and exploring their credit and/or debt concerns; explaining the importance of compound interest in retirement planning; using principles of behavioral economics to develop programs that help clients make informed financial decision-making and build wealth; or advocating against the threatened dissolution of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Such practices are rarely seen because most social workers do not receive FCAB training as part of their general social work education. Only a small minority of social work programs have taken advantage of a full FCAB curriculum that is available to them. Yet if programs are to prepare social workers to assess and address a client's bio-psycho-social-financial capability, they need to find ways to embed FCAB in their curricula.
The round table was moderated by members of the FCAB Grand Challenge Education work group that promotes FCAB through social work education. The presenters discussed the FCAB Grand Challenge, along with the goals of the Education work group. The presenters facilitated a dialogue with attendees to share ideas for how individual programs and instructors can integrate FCAB content towards the identification of strategies to collaboratively expedite the spread of FCAB in the social work curriculum.