WHAT'S AN IDA?
Officially called an Independent Development Account, it's a special bank savings account for foster youths, ages 15-19, who earn money that's matched by United Way.
WHAT IT EARNS: Teens typically earn $10-$25 for achieving varied life skills goals, such as creating a résumé, boosting their GPA or attending financial literacy classes.
HOW IT GROWS: United Way matches each teen's savings, dollar for dollar, up to $500 per year.
WHERE IT'S SPENT: When leaving the foster system, teens meet with mentors to decide a spending plan that's college or job-related, such as: housing, transportation, tuition, a laptop computer or work attire.
WHO PARTICIPATES: 236 foster teens in five counties, sponsored by Amador-Tuolumne Community Resources, Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento, Koinonia Family Services and New Morning Youth and Family Services.
FOR MORE DETAILS: Contact the California Capital Region United Way office at (916) 368-3050 or visit the website www.yourlocalunitedway.org.