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A New Approach To Poverty Prioritizes U.S. Children

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What a difference a year can make: according to the National Academy of Sciences, the number of American households in poverty was shrinking steadily before the pandemic began. Sadly, just one year after Covid-19 emerged in the U.S., millions more households have been pushed into economic crisis. Some estimates suggest that as many as 2.5 million additional children have been forced into poverty.

Thankfully, help is finally on the way. Aside from what it provides in COVID relief, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan recently signed by President Biden offers one of the most comprehensive anti-poverty packages in modern times. Along with stimulus checks going out to most children and adults as well as an extension of unemployment benefits, the law increases the child tax credit sharply, and makes those funds more accessible. It also offers housing vouchers for those threatened with homelessness, and health care subsidies in states that have failed to expand Medicaid.

According to the Urban Institute, these moves will cut child poverty nearly in half–and that's something we can all get behind. For more details on this historic legislation, check out the recent PBS feature.

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