Original article written by Michelle Ross for PIX 11.
MANHATTAN, NY — Estimates show that the Child Tax Credit is projected to cut childhood poverty in half, but with the credit set to expire at the end of this year, local leaders and organizations are worried it could have a devastating impact on the future of our children.
The expansion of the Child Tax Credit through the American Rescue Plan sent $15 billion to the families of 61 million children this month.
Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) says the credit — which gives families up to $300 a month per child — is a down payment to ending childhood poverty.
“We know from research that poverty is poisonous to children,” Torres said. “It is poisonous to the cognitive development of children in the most formative years of life.”
Studies show childhood poverty leads to lower test scores, graduation rates, and lifetime earnings, which is why Congressman Torres wants the credit to be permanently expanded.
“A permanent Child Tax Credit would be to families and children what social security has long been to senior citizens,” Torres said. “It would be a permanent breakthrough against poverty in America.”
Kiara Atkins is an advocate at the Children’s Defense Fund and was 11 years old when her mother died. She says this tax credit would’ve helped her and her family immensely.
“If the expanded Child Tax Credit would’ve been there for me, my grandmother and I wouldn’t have had to ration our food or everyday essentials,” Atkins said. “There were many months where I held onto food because I didn’t know if there’d be any more.”
She says children shouldn’t have to worry about these issues and instead should focus on being children and getting an education.
“I get excited when I see friends and family and neighbors get the Child Tax Credit checks because I know how much it could’ve helped me and I know how much it’s saving them,” Atkins said.
Congressman Torres argues the Child Tax Credit isn’t only good morals but also good economics saying for every dollar in a Child Tax Credit payment, $1.25 is generated in economic growth.