Improving children’s health on the front lines of care
Children’s HealthWatch is a nonpartisan network of pediatricians, public health researchers, and children’s health and policy experts committed to improving children’s health in America.

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Overcoming Invisibility

Like most little kids, I wished for superpowers when I was younger. Being able to do something otherworldly (ironically) appealed to my introverted personality as a way to stand out with a unique gift. Saturday cartoons, comic books, and other…

Association between Child Tax Credit advance payments and food insufficiency in households experiencing economic shocks

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic brought increases in economic shocks due to poor health and lost employment, which reduced economic well-being, especially in households with children. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 expanded…

Permanently Expanding the Child Tax Credit Can Make Generational Change

Originally published on The Brink. In 2021, Congress used the American Rescue Plan Act to dramatically expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC), which provides tax credits based on income level and the number of children per household. One goal…

Involving Families in Public Policy Innovation to Reduce Cost-Driven Moves and Related Disruption

This is a commentary to Moving Because of Unaffordable Housing and Disrupted Social Safety Net Access Among Children by Kathryn M. Leifheit et al. Click here to read the original article. In this issue of Pediatrics, Leifheit…

Moving Because of Unaffordable Housing and Disrupted Social Safety Net Access Among Children

OBJECTIVES: To measure associations between residential moves because of unaffordable housing costs and disruptions in access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants,…

Mid-year budget cuts prevent planned increase to MA cash assistance

Balancing budgets should not come on the backs of our poorest families.   Earlier this month, the Healey-Driscoll Administration announced mid-year budget cuts that will prevent a planned increase to the state’s Transitional Aid for Families…

Children’s HealthWatch Statement on Child Tax Credit Agreement

This week, Congressional leaders announced a bipartisan Child Tax Credit agreement that prioritizes families with low incomes and is estimated to lift 400,000 children out of poverty this year. The announcement comes following pressure from…

An Apple a Day Won’t Even Be Affordable for Children if Critical Program Isn’t Funded

As Congress approaches yet another deadline to fund the government and its programs, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)—a program that provides healthy foods and other services to pregnant and…

WIC Needs Immediate Funding to Protect the Health and Well-Being of Children

This is an update to our blog from November 2, 2023. To read the original, click here. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a vital program that supports the health and well-being of pregnant…

Our Policy Focus Areas

Children’s HealthWatch research and policy analysis specifically focuses on the child health and developmental impacts of economic hardships with a particular focus on food insecurity, unstable housing, health care hardships and inability to afford adequate household energy.

  • Consistent access to food for all family members is crucial for ensuring children are healthy. Food and nutrition assistance programs are an essential cornerstone in supporting the health and well-being of low-income families.

  • Stable housing supports healthy growth and development among young children, and means families are not behind on rent, moving frequently, doubled up, overcrowded, or homeless. Policies that create affordable housing options that provide access to safe, stable housing help ensure young children and their families can thrive and be successful in life.

  • Maintaining consistent utility services so homes are heated in the winter and cooled in the summer is critical for children’s health and safety. Energy supports protect families from the harmful health effects of having their utilities shut off.

  • Health Care Hardships

    When families are forced to choose between paying for health care, such as medical care and prescriptions, and other basic needs such as food, rent, child care, or utility bills, that decision can have an effect on the health and wellbeing of young children. Providing supports necessary to care for children, especially those with special health care needs, is crucial for improving child health.

  • Alleviating economic hardships for families with young children will require comprehensive policy solutions including improvements to nutrition assistance programs, increasing access to affordable housing, providing energy assistance, making work pay through reducing cliff effects and increasing  and expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, providing affordable child care to all children, and supporting the health and development of all children.


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