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The following piece first appeared in Newsweek on December 12, 2022.
In 2021, the federal government ran an experiment. It sent nearly every American family up to $300 per child per month for 6 months, and then watched to see if it helped.
The experiment was remarkably successful in supporting kids. It contributed to the largest single-year drop in child poverty ever recorded. It helped millions of families meet their children’s basic needs, and was linked to a whopping 26 percent reduction in the number of households with children that could not reliably afford enough food.
Yet despite the experiment’s success, Congress allowed the payments to end in December 2021, effectively cutting off vital assistance for millions of children. Fortunately, Congress has the opportunity to revive the experiment as part of this month’s “lame duck” session and make an expanded Child Tax Credit a permanent fixture of U.S. policy.
As a pediatrician working in West Philadelphia, I can tell you that when families can’t buy enough food, their children feel the effects. I care for children every week whose parents or caregivers struggle to feed them, even working full-time, sometimes in multiple jobs. My own clinical experiences, along with a wealth of research, show that poor access to food in childhood is linked to a number of negative outcomes for kids, including worse health, behavioral issues, and more difficulties in school.
Read the entire op-ed, here.
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