BALTIMORE, June 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, as the federal government launched a new website and other resources for parents and caregivers eligible for an expanded child tax credit, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a 50-state data report that argues for making the expansion permanent.
The Foundation’s analysis comes from the 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book, a report released annually with state rankings to present a comprehensive picture of child well-being — an assessment that indicates nearly a decade of progress after the Great Recession could be erased by the COVID-19 pandemic unless policymakers act boldly to sustain the beginnings of a recovery.
The Foundation identified challenges faced by kids and families during the crisis, from food and housing insecurity to health concerns — and urged immediate action from Congress — in a December report. Since then, the federal child tax credit has been increased as well as restructured to provide advance monthly payments to most families of $250 to $300 per child.
“The COVID-19 crisis has brought many families to the breaking point, especially parents and caregivers who have lost jobs and income,” said Lisa Hamilton, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. “Making the expanded child tax credit permanent will continue providing critical financial support for families who are struggling to make ends meet and help reduce long-standing disparities that affect millions of families of color.”
In 2019, the latest year for which the national estimate is available, 12 million kids (17%) lived in poverty. Some 4.4 million children (6%) lacked health insurance, reflecting the first rate increase in a decade, and that was before the pandemic hit. Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Minnesota placed first, second and third in the annual KIDS COUNT rankings, which are based on pre-pandemic data.
Survey data from the last year add to the story of America’s children and families. During the pandemic, in 2020, more than one in five households with children (22%) said they had only slight confidence or no confidence that they would be able to make their next rent or mortgage payment on time. However, by March 2021, this figure had fallen to 18%, reflecting the beginnings of a recovery.
The 2021 KIDS COUNT® Data Book can be found at www.aecf.org.
Donte Donald | [email protected] | 404-791-1253
SOURCE The Annie E. Casey Foundation