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Helping Infants, Toddlers and Families Thrive

A bipartisan package that recently passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, would expand the child tax credit (CTC). As the Senate decides whether to follow suit, advocates press that the CTC is a critical policy vehicle to help all infants, toddlers and their families thrive, and it should be implemented as soon as possible.

“Uplifting children out of poverty gives them better chances in life, so it’s critical that families advocate for CTCs, as well as understand how they work,” says Jacob Pinney-Johnson, trainer with the Early Childhood Investment Corporations, National Center for Family and Parent. “For families like mine that have struggled to make ends meet, a child tax credit will make all the difference in helping them feed, clothe and house their child.”

Studies show that inadequate housing, food insecurity and familial stress during the first three years of a child’s life pose risks to their rapidly developing brain and body. These effects can have long-lasting impacts, impairing their ability to be healthy and thrive in adulthood.

If the House version of the federal CTC goes fully into effect, roughly 16 million children under age 17 will benefit in the first year, including nearly 3 million infants and toddlers, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. While more modest than the 2021 credit, the measure would lift hundreds of thousands of children above the poverty line in the first year, and include further increases in 2025, along with inflation adjustments in future years.

Given these figures, it’s no surprise that the measure is popular with parents across the political spectrum. In a November 2022 poll by the nonprofit Zero to Three, an overwhelming 85% of parents said it’s important for Congress to reinstate Child Tax Credit reforms.

The National Collaborative for Infants & Toddlers, or NCIT, an education and advocacy movement committed to ensuring that children prenatal to 3 years old and their families have what they need to thrive, along with thousands of aligned organizations, is supporting strong CTCs that don’t simultaneously exclude many families with onerous restrictions. To learn more, visit https://www.ncit.org/CTC.

Advocate stress that federal CTCs are critical, but state governments have a role as well. States can institute their own CTCs to help infants, toddlers and their families thrive now.

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) nd3000 / iStock via Getty Images Plus

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