ATLANTA – The expanded federal child tax credit Congress passed this year is expected to lift nearly 700,000 Georgia children out of poverty, including about 470,000 Black children, child advocacy leaders said Thursday.
As a result, the state’s overall child poverty rate will be reduced from 13.6% to 5.9%, while the Black child poverty rate will go from 21.8% to 11.4%, Kimberly Scott, executive director of Georgia WAND (Women’s Action for New Directions), said during a news conference in Atlanta.
“This is major tax relief for nearly all working families,” Scott said. “The expanded child tax credit will serve as a lifeline for so many Georgians.”
Georgia WAND and other nonprofit groups interested in children’s wellbeing staged Thursday’s news conference to raise awareness of the expanded child tax credit.
Starting July 15, families will receive monthly checks of up to $300 per child. Over the course of a year, that amounts to $3,600 for each child under age 6 and $3,000 for each child ages 6 through 17.
The expanded child tax credit is part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan President Joe Biden steered through Congress in March. Additional legislation – the American Families Plan – that remains pending would extend the credit through 2025.
Ray Khalfani, a policy analyst for the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, said it’s important that the tax credit be extended beyond just this year because the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic are still being felt, particularly by minority workers hit hardest by layoffs.
“While the economy may be recovering for some, for too many the crisis remains,” he said. “Racial disparities are often linked to the last-hired, first-fired syndrome.”
Mindy Binderman, executive director of GEEARS (Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students) said she is glad to see a larger tax credit going to families with children under 6.
“We know poverty has negative consequences for child outcomes, for health, social, emotional and cognitive development,” she said. “We think the [larger credit] will be helpful.”
Khalfani said he expects a strong push to convince members of Congress to support making the expanded child tax credit permanent. He predicted the effort will get a boost from success stories that emerge from families helped by the expanded credit.