The expanded child tax credit proposed under the Biden American Rescue Plan is the largest single anti-poverty investment in children since the introduction of Head Start to over half a million families in the summer of 1965. With Black, Native American, and Latinx children representing nearly three-quarters of children in poverty as of 2019, scholars and policy pundits are simultaneously touting the expanded child tax credit as a policy of racial equity. Reducing poverty through these new policy investments will go a long way: Evidence points to how income-based policies that reduce poverty may cushion against the blows of pandemic-induced income loss, protect children from further harm, and support their development. Relief from continued stimulus payments and the expanded child tax credit will also more generally alleviate the negative ripple effects of economic and health distress on family life and parenting. However, these policy investments in isolation may not reach their full impact without also addressing the long-standing racial disparities of structural racism—some of which contributed to child poverty in the first place.

Without direct policies to address segregation, racism, and white supremacy, Black parents may continue to be excluded from the financial, labor, and real estate markets; many Latinx parents will continue to fear engaging with government and public systems; and racial segregation in housing and neighborhoods will likely continue to contribute to uneven and lower quality investments in Black and Brown children’s education. By hailing contemporaneous policy investments in economic well-being as a dual solution for racial equity and poverty, we risk perpetuating ongoing policy blind spots. How can well-intentioned anti-poverty policies of today succeed in leveling the playing field across racial and economic lines?

Read the full article about anti-poverty policies by Lisa A. Gennetian and Hirokazu Yoshikawa at Brookings.