The Child Tax Credit helped me go to college while taking care of my baby. Congress should expand it.


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Samantha Donley of Wilton is a mother of a 1 year old son and a student at the University of Southern Maine.

As the pandemic raged across the country last year, I was pregnant with my first child, Remy, who was born in October 2020. When my husband and I got pregnant we knew it would be a challenge, but we didn’t expect our baby to come into the world during a public health and economic crisis. As I entered this new chapter in my life, all of those financial responsibilities of being a new mother hit me in one fell swoop, from buying formula and diapers to looking and payment for a daycare.

But there was one thing that really helped us with all these extra costs and allowed me to stay in school and finish my social work degree: the temporary monthly. child tax credit checks we got from the US bailout. It may not seem like a lot of money to some people, but it made all the difference to me and my family and over 200,000 children under 18 in Maine alone.

But if Congress doesn’t pass the Build Back Better package by the end of the year, that financial cushion will disappear for millions of families like mine.

My family and millions of others like us cannot afford to lose this lifeline. With the tax credit payments my boyfriend and I could afford to put Remy in daycare a few days a week, so that I could continue going to school while my husband continued to work as a plumber on time. full. We’re paying $ 550 a month for those three days a week just – and that’s for one of the cheapest daycares we’ve been able to find. I would not have been able to manage my long commute, complete my fieldwork in community organization and afford daycare without the child tax credit.

Beyond paying for child care, we also use our Child Tax Credit to help pay for Remy Formula needs, gas, rent and car payments. These basic necessities add up. The formula alone costs us $ 120 per month. And the monthly payments go a long way in helping us cover those daily expenses. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, rather than waiting to file our taxes to get that money, we now get more money and regular monthly payments, so we can use it when we need it.

In addition to my personal experience, I know from my training as a social worker how poverty reduction benefits individuals, local communities and the economy in general. It’s a victory for everyone. The expanded child tax credit put money directly into the hands of families like mine who spend them on basic necessities in stores and businesses in our communities.

These payments have given my family a bit of a break as we cover the additional costs for our new family member. Now we are counting on our members of Congress to do the right thing and pass the Build Back Better legislation that extends the child tax credit until 2022. This improvement should then become permanent. My family and millions of families across the country cannot afford to lose this vital support.


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