By Alison Miller
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (H.R. 1319) into law, providing $1.9 trillion in relief funds to support families, stimulate the economy, and fund a variety of efforts to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Provisions to support children and families include:
Child Tax Credit
- The American Rescue Plan includes temporary provisions to expand the Child Tax Credit (CTC) by allowing households with children to claim up to $3,600 per child for children under 6 years of age and $3,000 per child for children between 6 and 18 years of age. Low income households are allowed to claim the full amount as a result of American Rescue Plan provisions, whereas higher income households are typically allowed to claim more (up to $2,000 annually) than lower income households, disproportionately harming people of color.
Earned Income Tax Credit
- The American Rescue Plan increases the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children from $542 to $1,502, and the income cap to qualify from approximately $16,000 to at least $21,000 annually. The law also expands the age range of eligible workers without children to include adults between 19 and 24 years of age and people 65 and older, providing essential income support to more than 17 million people across the country, including many essential workers. Studies have found that children and teenagers from low-income households that receive the EITC are more likely to graduate high school and have higher earnings.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act Tax Credit
Child Care Funding
See more analysis of the American Rescue Plan here.
Essentials for Childhood Framework to Support Children and Families
Since 2014, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) has partnered with several state organizations to implement strategies focused on child maltreatment prevention under the CDC Essentials for Childhood framework. This framework includes strategies to provide economic supports for families (including policies to address income and food and housing security), enhance trauma-informed practices and communities, and ensure family-friendly workplace policies (FFWPs). North Carolina Essentials for Childhood provides funding support to our partners engaged in these activities:
- Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina’s awareness campaign, Connections Matter. Through a series of training modules, promotional strategies, and personal stories, the Connections Matter initiative aims to emphasize the importance of family and community relationships in building resilience for children impacted by trauma and other adverse childhood experiences. During the pandemic, Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina has helped non-profit organizations pivot to virtual service delivery, worked with partners to organize and adapt resources for organizations supporting families, and aligned with state and national partners to advocate for policies that support families.
- The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’sFamily Forward NC (FFNC) initiative, which is focused on improving children’s health and well-being and keeping North Carolina’s businesses competitive. Business-led change to increase access to research-based family-friendly practices improve recruitment and retention and workplace productivity, while growing a strong economy that supports children’s healthy development. Through the FFNC initiative, the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation educates and engages employers about the value of providing family-friendly workplace benefits and moves employers to add new family-friendly benefits to their workplaces. In August 2020, the FFNC initiative launched the COVID-19 Rapid Response Program, which provides free access to experts in human resources to assist employers in identifying industry-appropriate, family-friendly workplace benefits, while also helping employers and working families to build resilience during and after the pandemic.
- MomsRising’s ongoing work to build public awareness about the benefits of paid leave policies, and to increase community capacity for implementation at the local level. MomsRising is working to engage community-level stakeholders, provide technical assistance to local governments, and coordinate storytelling campaigns and media toolkits for community partners. Throughout the pandemic, MomsRising has continued to advocate for paid sick leave, kin care, and safe days, partnered with FFNC and other organizations on a survey to assess family-friendly workplace policies in local government, and engaged with state and local legislators.
- NC Child’s work to create an interactive data resource and provide direct technical assistance to organizations working to develop communication strategies using disaggregated data. NC Child will also conduct training webinars focused on analyzing, displaying, and communicating data that will be accessible to organizations across the state. In February 2021, the NCIOM and NC Child published the 2021 Child Health Report Card, which provides county-level data on key indicators in four areas: healthy births, access to care, secure homes, and health risk factors. The Child Health Report Card also includes current data snapshots related to children’s health and the impact of the pandemic on children and families.