The U.S. Census Bureau has released poverty data for 2022 and the news is alarming.
Between 2021 and 2022, more than 5 million U.S. children fell into poverty, more than doubling the child poverty rate. The reason? Congress’ inaction on the child tax credit.
As an early childhood educator I am daily confronted with the effects of poverty on children. Poorly fitted shoes means a child can’t keep up with her classmates; parents can’t afford lice shampoo, so lice is spread to many more in a classroom; parents quarrel about money and a child can’t sleep; just to name a few of the daily irritations of poverty.
A well-documented solution is in front of our faces!
In 2021 Congress expanded the child tax credit to all families with low or no income and sent it in monthly payments. As a result, parents got the financial resources and flexibility to meet their children’s basic needs and child poverty dropped to an historic low. But a small group of politicians in the other Washington blocked an extension of the child tax credit monthly payments. The new poverty data confirms the disastrous effects of their inaction.
In 2021, we were on the road to ending child poverty. It’s time to finish the job. I urge Washington’s representatives and Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray to expand the child tax credit to families with low incomes and reject any tax legislation that does not.