We Can’t Backslide on Child Poverty

Millions of American families just missed a monthly payment.

By: Michelle Hughes | January 2022

Post Author

Millions of American families just missed a monthly payment. For the past six months, parents have been getting the enhanced Child Tax Credit as a monthly payment in their bank accounts. The next payment was supposed to show up last Friday, but it didn’t. That’s because the Senate has not acted to renew it.   

For many families, a few hundreds dollars missing from your bank account will mean missing a car payment or your heating bill. In 2021, Congress sent targeted tax breaks to our country’s low- and middle-income families with children. Parents reported using those funds for groceries, rent, clothes, and shoes for their kids, and to pay down debt hanging over their families. The US House passed legislation to continue this expanded Child Tax Credit in 2022 and beyond – but the Senate has not.  

Poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s healthy development

The expanded child tax credit created what may be the biggest one-time decline in child poverty in history. Now we’re at risk of following that decline with a huge surge in child poverty, at a time when many families are struggling with loss of income again due to the pandemic.  

The single biggest item North Carolina families report spending their child tax credit on is food. In fact, child hunger declined dramatically among American families in 2021 once the Child Tax Credit payments began, according to US Census Bureau data – with millions fewer US children going hungry.  

The expanded Child Tax Credit lifted tens of thousands North Carolina children out of poverty in 2021 – with Native American children, Black children, and Latinx children benefiting the most. Why would we go back on that? 

Congress should act as quickly as possible make the expansion of the child tax credit permanent.

Take Action: Please call your U.S. Senators today to ask, “Where’s the child tax credit?”   

If your family received monthly payments through December, say that, and say why it’s helpful. Urge swift renewal of the Child Tax Credit as part of the Build Back Better Act. (Please call twice to reach both your U.S. Senators.) Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

How did the Child Tax Credit help your family? We would love to hear about it! Please share your family’s story with the NC Child team.

We have the power to solve child poverty

Any policy that takes us backwards on child poverty will have a negative impact on children’s well-being. Whether we’re talking about health outcomes, mental health, educational achievement, or any child trauma indicator you can think of: Poverty is the biggest factor.  

The expanded Child Tax Credit showed us clearly that child poverty is a problem we have the power to solve. Let’s keep moving forward to solve it.