Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan and the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) are launching a statewide initiative for children in foster care to be able to have Arkansas 529 College Investing Plans.


“We’ve had several requests from foster parents who wanted to be able to help provide Arkansas 529 accounts for the children in their care, but until now there was no procedure in place for them to do so,” Milligan said in a news release.


The state treasurer’s office administers the Arkansas 529 College Investing Plan.


“We approached DCFS earlier this year to see how we could work together to implement this program for the children in foster care,” he said.


The Arkansas 529 program is a tax-deferred college savings account that students can use at any two- or four-year college, university, technical school, or vocational school in the country.


Any foster parent can open an Arkansas 529 account for children in their care. The state will maintain ownership of the accounts until the child leaves the foster care system, at which point the account will be turned over to his or her parents – or the child if they are over the age of 18, according to the release.


“We always want our foster parents to invest emotionally in our children, DCFS Director Mischa Martin said. “This initiative gives foster parents another avenue to invest in these children’s lives. This kind of support helps ensure a child’s future well beyond his or her temporary time in foster care.”


Milligan said everyone doesn’t have the opportunity to save for college.


“And we want to be able to help as many kids in our state as possible,” he said.


Details: www.arkansas529.org or the treasurer’s office, 501-682-1406.