Federal Support Helps Children Across the Nation
Benjamin L. Harris, CPA, CGMA

Federal Support Helps Children Across the NationFederal policies and budget items that support children and families are many and varied, but some of the most significant ones involve (1) tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); (2) nutrition, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs; (3) education, such as Federal support for and policies concerning elementary and secondary education; and (4) health care, such as the State Child Health Insurance Program and Medicaid.

The Earned Income Tax Credit, which has been part of Federal tax policy since 1975 and has been expanded several times since then, is available to low- and moderate-income individuals and families, with the amount of the credit dependent on a family’s income and the number of children within that family. The EITC represents one of the largest Federal antipoverty programs.

The Child Tax Credit, which was enacted in 1998 at the amount of $400 per child and has been increased several times since then to its now permanent amount of as much as $1,000 per child, is available to families earning less than $130,000 per year (with the full credit available to those families earning no more than $110,000 per year) of earned income who claim dependent children younger than age 17 on their Federal tax return. Those families can qualify for the CTC to reduce their Federal income tax by as much as $1,000 for each qualifying child.

Collectively, these tax credits and programs provide valuable resources and support to families in need and help strengthen communities by providing significant sources of additional income for working families.