Without Child Tax Credit, More WV Kids Were Pushed Back into Poverty
Thursday, March 24, 2022
It is estimated 50,000 West Virginia children are once again living below the poverty line, since families received their final expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) payment at the end of last year.
The American Rescue Plan increased the CTC in 2021, with families receiving up to $3,600 for each child younger than age 6, and $3,000 for children between 6 and 16, split up into monthly payments.
Experts say most families used the extra cash to buy food and pay bills, and save up for emergencies.
Jim McKay, state coordinator for Prevent Child Abuse West Virginia, a program of TEAM for West Virginia Children, said the financial stability has positively impacted children.
"There's been a 41% increase in child poverty in the state," McKay reported. "It was really helping so many West Virginia children have a taste of what it's like to live without the burden of poverty."
According to a report by Columbia University's Center on Poverty and Social Policy, Black and Latino children nationwide are more likely to have fallen back into poverty in the few months after the expiration of the expanded CTC.
McKay added amid inflation and rising gas prices, the situation for low-income families could worsen. He pointed out families and advocates are frustrated with the lack of action on the tax credit, so much so a group a West Virginia moms traveled to DC last month with 500 teddy bears, in what they are calling the Unbearable Campaign.
"So the 500 teddy bears, each teddy bear represented 100 West Virginia children who being pushed back into poverty without the expanded child tax credit," McKay explained.
In addition to increasing housing instability and hunger, numerous studies have found poverty increases stress and affects kids' development, learning and decision-making abilities.
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