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

Boston

We have to make our voices heard

Kudos to Kim Janey, president and CEO of Economic Mobility Pathways and former acting mayor of Boston, for her op-ed “Direct cash assistance is a proven way to support struggling families.” Many analyses have demonstrated the efficacy of this form of assistance. But nothing demonstrates that fact as clearly as the dramatic reduction in child poverty when the enhanced Child Tax Credit existed and its immediate reversal within a month of its discontinuance. Millions of children were brought out of poverty, only to be plunged back into it when Congress failed to act.

Janey’s willingness to share her lived experience of poverty is commendable. At Results.org, an organization committed to the elimination of poverty by supporting people to use their voices to influence political decisions, the power of constituency is paramount. Our members of Congress need to hear from us, their constituents, and listen to our stories. We must raise our voices and tell Congress that allowing children, in this incredibly rich country, to go to bed hungry at night or to live in an unsafe home is unacceptable. We can and must do better. For starters, we must reinstate an expanded Child Tax Credit now.

Dr. Leslye Heilig
Great Barrington
The writer, a retired pediatrician, is Massachusetts group coleader with Results.org.

See the Letters

These letters-to-the-editor also appeared in the print edition of the Boston Globe on October 19, 2022.