The Child Tax Credit Benefits Whole Families: Preliminary data show improved food security and parental health

Summary of Findings

New preliminary data from Children’s HealthWatch highlight linkages between Child Tax Credit (CTC) receipt and food security as well as excellent or good parental health status among families with young children. Despite these positive signs, there were notable disparities in which families received the CTC – likely as result of structural racism and exclusions that should be rectified in future policymaking and implementation.

Policy recommendations to improve the Child Tax Credit

There is an urgent need to pass an extension of the advance CTC monthly payments, which expired at the end of 2021, and enact solutions that increase access to payments among marginalized families. The recommendations below will help promote food security and improve parent health.

Specifically, Children’s HealthWatch and the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice urge Congressional leaders and the administration to swiftly enact the following changes:

  1. Pass a permanent and inclusive expanded Child Tax Credit that ensures all children — regardless of immigration status and without requirements for earned income — are eligible for monthly payments that improve family health and well-being.
  2. Invest in effective, culturally appropriate outreach and enrollment efforts that focus on community-driven solutions for increasing awareness of and access to the CTC.
  3. Reduce structural barriers to the CTC by creating a permanent, accessible simplified tax-filing platform available in multiple languages, that is consistently evaluated and improved to promote equitable access to the CTC — particularly for marginalized families.

This research is part of a partnership between Children’s HealthWatch and the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice. We would like to thank the generous supporters of this project: the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.