The Socio-economic Empowerment Assessment: Addressing poverty and economic distress in clients
In this paper, we introduce the Socio-Economic Empowerment Assessment (SEEA), a qualitative assessment that uses an ecological framework to better understand the psychological impact of poverty and financial insecurity. The assessment is designed as a practice tool and can be administered in a number of clinical settings, including agencies most likely to serve low-income populations. It can also be included as part of financial literacy or management sessions that social work agencies may offer. This paper explores how SEEA can be used to help develop specific and appropriate interventions that move low-income people and others toward economic empowerment. We examine the literature on financial literacy programs and theories on behavior regulation and social relationships related to consumption. A case study using an integrative assessment approach is included as an example of SEEA implementation.