Anyone with school-aged kids knows that sometimes it’s just about getting through one day, one week, one month at a time.
I have three of my own, and I’m their sole income provider. I work full time to make sure I can give my kids the lives they deserve. Still, the family budget gets tight quickly as child care, school supplies, food, the mortgage, and all the unforeseen costs that come with raising three young kids.
So when the first Child Tax Cut check arrived in July, our family felt it. We received that first check while we were in the middle of moving to a new part of town, and the timing couldn’t have been better. At a time when expenses tend to pile up, it gave us a little wiggle room. It was a huge relief on Day One, but knowing that this support is something I can count on every month changes the game entirely.
Our family is far from alone. Nearly every child in the country stands to benefit from the Child Tax Cut — families receive $250 per month for each kid under 18 living under their roof. This isn’t a loan. It’s real relief that can be used to pay for whatever your family needs most in any given month. And if your family is anything like mine, that “whatever” can mean all kinds of things: backpacks, art supplies, sports equipment, you name it.
Because of the Child Tax Cut, family budgets across the country got a little less tight this summer, which helps ease the burden of rising costs. And that makes kids’ lives better. In just the first month, child hunger levels drop — one federal survey found that 47% of families used the funds to pay for food.
At the heart of this policy is the idea that every parent should have the ability to provide and care for our families. And when you put that idea into practice, it can fundamentally change lives. Experts believe that the Child Tax Cut is on track to cut child poverty in half and especially benefit kids of color, some of whom have been hit disproportionately hard due to the pandemic.
Now, lawmakers in Washington need to decide whether they are going to let the expanded Child Tax Cut expire at the end of the year. Speaking for one family of millions, I am praying they don’t stop these monthly payments at the end of the year. Being able to count on this support every month means saving money for my kids’ future. It means investing in supplemental education programs to help them grow. The Child Tax Cut helps me be the mom I want to be for my kids.
Knowing that each month will be a little easier, a little less stressful, isn’t a small thing. Every parent deserves that kind of peace of mind and every child deserves to grow up in that kind of home.
Meloniece Gaskins is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who lives in San Tan Valley with her three children.