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VA Families Urge Revival of Child Tax Credit

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Monday, October 31, 2022   

It's been about a year since Virginia families last received funds from the U.S. Child Tax Credit, and they want it to be reinstated.

According to a study from Columbia University, the Child Tax Credit kept more than 3.7 million children out of poverty in December 2021. The study also found that in January of this year, the child poverty rate could increase from 12.1% to about 17.1%.

Virginia kindergarten teacher and member of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers Melissa Keebaugh said she has felt the effects first hand, and seen them at her school. She said reinstating the Child Tax Credit would have numerous benefits for kids and families.

"I think that we would see a lot more of our children without having food instability," said Keebaugh. "That would give them access to better housing, to safer housing. I'm sure that there would be a benefit then to the schools because they would be able to put more money into that."

Keebaugh's personal benefit from the Child Tax Credit was being able to afford after-school care for her daughter.

Initially, when the Child Tax Credit first came about, she said she was uncertain about it, but said she sees its importance for families trying to make ends meet.

According to the Coalition on Human Needs, there was a 31% increase from 2021 to 2022 in the number of households with children reporting they didn't always have enough to eat.

In her work as a Kindergarten teacher, Keebaugh said she finds that families are struggling with food insecurity.

Herndon Elementary School, where she works, has a program that provides families with bags of easy-to-prepare food over the weekend. Since the Child Tax Credit ended, she noted that the program's needs have increased.

"Since the child tax credit has basically disappeared, our numbers for requests have doubled," said Keebaugh. "And, actually, right now, we have a waiting list for our students needing those food resources."

With rising inflation and high prices, Keebaugh said things have only gotten harder. She said she finds being able to do things with her family is not as affordable as it used to be.




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