The Critical Role of the Child Tax Credit in Supporting Women & Their Families

Dear Colleagues,

The importance of the Child Tax Credit (CTC) has been at the forefront of my mind this week, particularly following Women’s Funding Network’s recent event, “Expanding the Child Tax Credit: What You Need to Know and What’s Next“, in collaboration with Economic Opportunity Funders, Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, and Tax Equity Funders Network. As we gathered together to hear from experts in the field on our collective efforts and opportunities for continued advocacy, I was reminded of the profound impact the CTC has had on tens of millions of women and families across the nation. Monday’s event was an important reminder that the CTC is one of our strongest tools in providing critical support to families raising children and has proven to be extraordinarily effective in reducing child poverty.

We reflected together on the remarkable results of the historic CTC expansion under The American Rescue Plan, providing crucial financial support to women, especially single mothers and women of color who often bear the primary responsibility for raising children while, on average, earning far less than their male counterparts. Over 60 million children benefited from the expanded credit, which nearly halved child poverty, bringing it down to a record low of 5.2 percent. This achievement was especially significant for Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American children, all of whom saw unprecedented reductions in poverty rates.

However, these critical expansions expired in December 2021, leading to increased financial hardship for many women and families. The spike in poverty rates in 2022 can be directly linked to the expiration of the CTC, highlighting the urgent need for its restoration.

Currently, lawmakers are considering the Bipartisan Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act which proposes further expansion of the CTC, ensuring each child in a low-income family receives the same-sized credit as those in higher-income families. This expansion could benefit roughly 16 million children in its first year and lift 400,000 above the poverty line, providing families with much-needed financial relief. Evidence from past CTC expansions clearly indicates that women in particular would stand to benefit from this critical legislation, using CTC payments to cover essential expenses such as childcare, groceries, and rent, alleviating financial stress and improving overall well-being.

Thus, restoring and making permanent the expanded CTC provides a feasible pathway for more women to thrive. By offering sustained support–especially to women and families living on the poverty line–the CTC provides essential resources to those who need them most.

With gratitude,

Mary Bissell
Founding Partner, ChildFocus

Grace Finley
Senior Policy Associate, ChildFocus


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