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More Financial Help for Families with Children: The Child Tax Credit


In the child care world, we usually focus on the economic policies that directly affect families’ ability to pay for the cost of child care – programs like the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), Early Learning Scholarships, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. However, this summer’s temporary expansion of the Child Tax Credit is providing important financial support to families with children.

The Child Tax Credit has been around for many decades, and is usually claimed when parents file their taxes. It was also not available to lower income families who earned too little to qualify. Now, the credit has been expanded to cover 23 million additional children and is being distributed through monthly payments that began on July 15, 2021. Best of all, most families who filed taxes previously did not have to do anything to start receiving the monthly payments. The payment amount depends on income, but can be significant, up to $300 per child for children under six.

This expansion has the potential to help low-income families pay for essentials each month, including child care costs. While it’s a temporary expansion at this time, advocacy efforts are already underway to try to make this a permanent support. More information about the credit is available from Children’s Defense Fund.