For a moment there, we made inroads on child poverty

Originally published in The Boston Globe.

Monthly Child Tax Credit made a measurable difference 

We write in strong support of former acting Boston mayor Kim Janey’s call for monthly cash benefits to support families struggling to make ends meet in the face of adversities compounded by COVID-19 (“Direct cash assistance is a proven way to support struggling families,” Opinion, Oct. 11). Research we co-authored, cited recently by President Biden, showed that the monthly Child Tax Credit payments improved families’ ability to afford food. Children’s HealthWatch data showed that the tax credit helped families with young children catch up on rent and improved parents’ health. Parents reported over and over again that the monthly cash benefits reduced their daily worry about meeting their child’s needs, giving them a chance to breathe easier by alleviating the daily grind of hardships.

We also agree with Janey’s emphasis on the need for additional support. National data show that eligible Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander families and families with incomes under $25,000 reported the lowest rates of receipt of monthly Child Tax Credit payments. Similarly, our data show that immigrant families and families without bank accounts also were significantly less likely to receive such payments. 

Providing multifaceted supports, including mobility coaching, helps families take better advantage of income-boosting opportunities. Advancing equity for children and families means investing in evidence-based tools such as the Child Tax Credit that end the cycle of poverty and hardship and set children on a path toward thriving. 

Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba 

Executive director 

Allison Bovell-Ammon 

Director of policy and communications 

Children’s HealthWatch 

Boston Medical Center