Improved CTC “kept children fed and warm and in their homes”

Nearly 300 organizations today urged Congress to lock in tax credits that support children and to take a strong stand on securing the remarkable gains they have won.

First Focus Campaign for Children led 283 advocates in child health, education, well-being and other areas in a letter to House and Senate leaders calling on them to enhance the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. The organizations, which represent more than 40 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, asked lawmakers to prioritize these child-friendly measures over tax breaks for large corporations in any year-end bills.

“It’s almost impossible to overstate the impact that enhancing the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit had on this country’s children, youth and the people who care for them,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley. “The improved CTC not only slashed child poverty, it helped families fight inflation, with the overwhelming majority spending the benefit on food, utilities, housing, education, diapers and debt reduction. These enhancements kept children fed and warm and in their homes. They improved every single aspect of their lives. It’s just wrong to turn on them now. Congress has a final opportunity — in fact, I would call it an obligation — to restore the protections that these measures offered our nation’s 72 million children.”

U.S. child poverty dropped to the lowest rate ever recorded in 2021 — to 5.2% — largely as a result of the government’s poverty-fighting initiatives. U.S. policies, and the improved Child Tax Credit in particular, slashed child poverty nearly in half.

In total, the CTC lifted 2.9 million children out of poverty in 2021, with 1 million of them under the age of 6. The improved CTC also reduced inequities, cutting child poverty among Black and Hispanic children by 6.3 percentage points, representing 716,000 Black children and 1.2 million Hispanic children. The CTC also removed 820,000 White, non-Hispanic children and 110,000 Asian children from poverty.

In a separate letter, First Focus Campaign for Children also called on Congress to prioritize children in any legislative vehicle it considers before the end of the year. Investments made under the American Rescue Plan pushed the share of federal spending on our nation’s children to nearly 12% — a record — and delivered the lowest child poverty rate in U.S. history. To secure these gains, First Focus policy experts urged Congress to offer an end-of-year package that:

  • Improves the CTC and EITC
  • Makes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) permanent and establishes continuous eligibility for children and adults in CHIP and Medicaid
  • Grows the children’s mental health workforce and infrastructure
  • Increases support for child care and early learning 
  • Reauthorizes child nutrition programs and home visiting for families in need 
  • Creates permanent protections for immigrant youth
  • Addresses the developmental needs of children around the globe 
  • Improves prevention of and response to child abuse and trafficking
  • Advances effective youth justice reforms

Find the full text of the letter at this link.