• September 2014
  • Vol. 15, No. 8

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Helping Youth Establish, Maintain Good Credit

Because youth who have been in foster care often lack a permanent address, and their personal information is frequently shared by numerous service providers and agencies. This makes youth in care susceptible to identity theft that often results in fraudulent entries on their credit reports. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created a website that provides guidance and resources for child welfare agencies, youth organizations, and community and financial institution partners to help youth in foster care start their adult lives with good credit and sound financial management skills.

Some steps that will help youth in foster care start out with healthy credit include:

  • Request yearly credit reports for youth in foster care starting at age 16
  • Request that credit reporting agencies correct any errors found in the report
  • Educate youth in foster care on the importance of establishing and maintaining good credit

CFPB notes that it's more effective to correct credit reporting errors before a young person turns 18 because his or her birthdate may make it easier to demonstrate that the credit report is incorrect. Sample letters for contacting credit bureaus and creditors are provided. Additional resources to help workers and parents teach young people how to establish and protect their credit histories and to make good financial choices also are provided.

The packet of resources can be found on the CFPB website:

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/how-to-protect-vulnerable-children-from-identity-theft/

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