Restore the expanded Child Tax Credit

Prevention, Early Intervention, & Youth
social determinants of health
Economic Security
Coverage & Standards
No items found.
Federal department
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house committees
House Ways and Means Committee
senate committees
Senate Finance Committee


Congress should pass the American Family Act to restore the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC), which was increased by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in 2021, but expired at the end of that year.[1] In 2021, it drove child poverty to all-time lows.


The CTC expansion resulted in an unprecedented decline in child poverty, which reached a record low of 5.2 percent in 2021. More than 2 million children were lifted above the poverty line due to the increase in the credit and disparities in child poverty rates decreased for children of all races and ethnicities.[2] Several ARPA changes were particularly important, including increasing the amount of the credit (to $3,600 per child under age 6 and to $3,000 per child aged 6-17, with 17 years olds being included for the first time), making the credit fully refundable so that low-income families could fully benefit, and allowing the Treasury Department to issue 50 percent of the criteria to families as advance monthly payments. Making the credit fully refundable was particularly critical for Black and Latino children, as well as children in rural areas, because previously large percentages of these families had not earned enough to take full advantage of the credit. With the changes, 27 million additional children from the poorest families received the full CTC.[3]

With a significant body of research demonstrating the link between financial stability and mental health[4][5], not surprisingly the CTC expansion improved mental health. One study found that the expanded CTC was associated with reduced anxiety symptoms for parents receiving the CTC, with Black and Latino families particularly benefitting. The study concluded that “[t]he expanded CTC has the potential to improve the environments in which vulnerable low-income children grow up.”  Congress significantly harmed youth mental health by allowing the expanded CTC to expire. It should restore it without delay.


1. American Family Act. H.R. 3899 (DeLauro-DelBene), 118th Congress (2023-2024). Last Updated June 7, 2023.

2. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Policy Basics: The Child Tax Credit. Last Updated December 7, 2022.

3. Akansha Batra, Kaitlyn Jackson, Rita Hamad. Effects Of The 2021 Expanded Child Tax Credit on Adults’ Mental Health: A Quasi-Experimental Study. Health Affairs. Last Updated January 2023.

4. Romuladus E. Azuine, Gopal K. Singh. Father's Health Status and Inequalities in Physical and Mental Health of U.S. Children: A Population-Based Study. Health Equity.  Last Updated October 9, 2019.

5. Gemma Lewis, Frances Rice, Gordon T. Harold, Stephan Collishaw, Anita Thapar. Investigating Environmental Links Between Parent Depression and Child Depressive/Anxiety Symptoms Using an Assisted Conception Design. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Last Updated March 10, 2011.