Child Poverty

Statement: The Children’s Defense Fund Celebrates Passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, a Critical Down Payment on Ending Child Poverty

The Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson, President and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund, issued the following statement in response to passage of the American Rescue Plan Act:

The passage of the American Rescue Plan Act is a valuable step forward along the path to end child poverty in America. For nearly 50 years, the Children’s Defense Fund has worked to enact and implement bold policies like this with our partners in the child advocacy movement. The bill’s inclusion of a one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit will change the lives of 23 million children who previously did not benefit fully from the program because – oddly – their families earned too little.

The bill could also go a long way in reducing racial and economic inequity. If enacted and implemented well, the cash benefit will cut child poverty in half and more than half for Black children. Increasing the benefit for children and providing it on a monthly basis during the year makes it easier for all families to meet the everyday expenses of raising children and increases family income security. It will help to meet our obligation to make sure our children flourish no matter their color or zip code.

But this helpful first step must not be our last. Allowing the temporary benefit without a commitment to permanence would place families in a precarious position and lead to a moral quagmire later. We must continue the journey to make a guaranteed monthly child allowance permanent a reality in American life.

The Children’s Defense Fund will fight to make these changes to the Child Tax Credit permanent and to continue make improvements. We believe this is crucial to our vision of a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being, and communities wield the power to ensure they thrive.