By Alexandra Yoon-Hopkins

December 1, 2022

Jennifer Bereskin dropped out of high school when she was 17. Her family was homeless, and she needed to get a job to buy food and afford bus fare. Couch surfing with friends in Everett, Lynnwood and Seattle, her dreams of college were put aside.

“I was merely surviving, I wasn’t able to thrive,” she said.

But Bereskin wonders if it could’ve been different.

A new proposal coming to the Washington Legislature for consideration next year aims to break the cycle of poverty that’s trapped families like Bereskin’s and lift future generations of low-income residents toward a path of financial independence.

The model is based on “baby bonds,” an idea popularized by Darrick Hamilton, an economics professor at the New School in New York, and William Darity Jr., a professor at Duke University, and now taking off in several states.