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For Parents in Recovery, Expanded Child Tax Credit Provided “One Less Stressor”


Monday, January 10, 2022   

West Virginia families can expect a smaller federal Child Tax Credit this year, and no more advance monthly payments now that the Build Back Better Act has hit a dead end in Congress.

Advocates say the extra cash helped alleviate burdens on parents recovering from a substance-use disorder.

JoAnna Vance, a community organizer for the Recovery Advocacy Project based in Beckley and a parent in long-term recovery from substance use disorder, explained the extra income helped stabilize individuals working to rebuild their lives and care for their children.

"Absolutely the child tax credit has been beneficial to families in West Virginia, specifically those in recovery and early recovery," Vance asserted. "To just have one less stressor off of their life."

Last year, Congress temporarily expanded the child tax credit to more than 35 million families, up to $3,600 per child. Studies showed most households used the money to buy food and pay for other basic necessities. Opponents say the $2 trillion Build Back Better Act is too costly.

Vance also pointed out many households across the state are struggling with winter expenses.

"We know that in January is when all of the electric bills and the gas bills spike," Vance noted. "It's when it snows, and you need tires or something like that for your vehicle."

She emphasized West Virginia Families are hurting.

"We need child care, we need jobs, we need internet, we need transportation," Vance outlined. "If they're not going to pass the Build Back Better, then what are they going to do?"

In the journal Health Affairs, researchers argued the expanded Child Tax Credit and other federal funding measures outlined in the Build Back Better Act could help reduce addiction in communities by reducing economic challenges for families that may directly or indirectly contribute to substance use.

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