Child Poverty

The Center for the Study of Social Policy, the Children’s Defense Fund, and members of the Automatic Benefit for Children Coalition Call for a Permanent Expansion of the Child Tax Credit

Washington, D.C.—Today, President Biden called on Congress to extend the American Rescue Plan’s expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) for only four more years and make the CTC permanently refundable. While this is an important step toward promoting families’ economic well-being, families need a guaranteed income that is generous, inclusive, and permanent—not a smaller cash benefit in a few years that could undermine the progress our nation is making on ending child poverty. We call on Congress and the President to take the bold action families need and make the full CTC expansions permanent.

The pandemic has highlighted families’ need for regular, predictable, and adequate income to cover the full range of the costs associated with raising children—from food, to housing, clothing, school supplies, and other basic necessities. Permanently expanding the Child Tax Credit would create a guaranteed income for families with children, ensuring they have the support they need to meet these everyday expenses. The policy recognizes that parents and caregivers are best-equipped to make decisions about how to effectively support their own families.

A permanently-expanded CTC is an essential step toward fulfilling our obligation to children—to ensure they have what they need to flourish, no matter their race or ethnicity, immigration status, or zip code. For decades, women and families have fought for this moment—from the Black feminist leaders of the welfare rights movement who launched the fight for a guaranteed minimum income more than 50 years ago, to the untold number of parents who have spoken out during the pandemic to demand that their caregiving work be recognized and valued. A permanent Child Tax Credit with the increased cash benefit helps to realize their vision and ensure that all children get a good start in life.

The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP), the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), and members of the Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition are committed to establishing a guaranteed income for families with children and ensuring that the policy advances racial and economic justice and reduces child poverty. CSSP and CDF co-chair the new and growing coalition of research, policy, advocacy, and grassroots organizations who are working together to advance a guaranteed, monthly, child allowance. The ABC Coalition will fight to make the Child Tax Credit permanent, accessible, and inclusive to ensure that all families with children get the support they need—especially Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and immigrant families who have historically been excluded from supports and services.

“Families need the support that an expanded Child Tax Credit provides, now and into the future,” said CSSP President Judith Meltzer. “We have an opportunity now that we should not abandon to go beyond half measures. We should permanently expand the Child Tax Credit and ensure that it reaches Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and other families of color and immigrant families—so that all parents and caregivers can meet their families’ needs, and children can fulfill their promise.”

“Our children need more than a temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit,” said The Reverend Dr. Starsky Wilson, President and CEO, Children’s Defense Fund. “We cannot leave the fate of this investment in the winds of an uncertain political future. In this moment of unprecedented awareness that we are ‘tied in a single garment of destiny’ we must make a guaranteed income for children a permanent fixture in America.”


About CSSP. The Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) works to achieve a racially, economically, and socially just society in which all children, youth, and families thrive. We translate ideas into action, promote public policies grounded in equity, and support strong and inclusive communities. We advocate with and for all children, youth, and families marginalized by public policies and institutional practices. Learn more at

About CDF. The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for more than 40 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. We champion policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation. Supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations, CDF advocates nationwide on behalf of children to ensure children are always a priority. Learn more at