Child Development Accounts Expanded in Singapore

In its annual budget message, the Singapore government announced on March 24, 2016, that Child Development Accounts, as of that date, are significantly expanded. The expansion is an automatic deposit into the CDAs of all newborns in the amount of S$3,000, which is US$2,220 at current exchange rates. The purpose is to make CDAs fully inclusive, that is, all babies are building assets.

Singapore already had the most extensive asset-building policies for children and youth of any country. And this expansion of CDAs, in itself, eclipses the asset-building policy for children of any other country.

The focus of CDAs in Singapore, as with much of its social policy, is on human development. These are funds intended to support development and education of the child. Other child development initiatives were also announced in the budget message, including plans for intensive early childhood education for all children.

Michael Sherraden was in Singapore at the time of the announcement, working as the S.R. Nathan Distinguished Visiting Professor of Social Work at National University of Singapore (NUS). Center for Social Development at Washington University has a sister Center for Social Development (Asia) at NUS, and Washington University has a special partnership in social innovation with NUS called Next Age Institute.