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Congressional action needed to boost financial stability and reduce child poverty

Most of us do whatever it takes to build a better life. We hustle and sacrifice to put food on the table and provide for our families. We should all have the opportunity to live a good life and pursue our dreams.  


But today, 63,000 children in Franklin County live in poverty. This harms children and their chances of success and costs us all. When kids grow up in a state of uncertainty and stress, it's like throwing a wrench in the gears of their growth and development. Studies show kids living in households with low incomes are more likely to struggle in school, deal with health issues, and get tangled up in the criminal legal system down the road. 


This future isn’t predetermined. We can build a better future for our kids. When families have financial stability, children get better grades, live healthier lives, and bring in more income over their lifetime. It's not rocket science, really. When parents have room to breathe and a foundation of stability, their kids have the support they need to thrive. When we, as a society, help parents afford the basics and prioritize the health and well-being of children, we all benefit.  


During the pandemic, federal lawmakers came together and did just that. They enacted policies – including the expansion of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit – that helped families keep food on the table, reduce credit card debt, and boost their financial security. According to a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution, 70% of parents said the Child Tax Credit payments helped them better manage higher prices.  


While these federal policies were temporary, they show that federal lawmakers have the power to enact policy solutions that reduce stress, provide relief and stability, and give families some peace of mind. 


Lawmakers in Washington don’t agree on much these days, but they have an opportunity to pass a bipartisan proposal that would build a better future for our children. The proposal called the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024, would help millions of families afford basic necessities by expanding the Child Tax Credit. On Wednesday, the US House passed this legislation with broad bipartisan support, underscoring its crucial role in supporting American families. 


The bill would help roughly 16 million children from families with low incomes, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). CBPP estimates that a single parent with two kids making $13,000 annually as a part-time home health aide would see their credit double (a $1,575 increase) in the first year. That’s a little more money to pay the rent and keep food on the table.  


Now, it's time for lawmakers in the Senate to follow suit, prioritize the well-being of children and families, and pass this legislation. While the expansion isn’t as impactful and inclusive as the expansion of the Child Tax Credit during the pandemic, it will make a difference in the lives of thousands of children in Central Ohio and millions of children across the nation.  


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