Exorbitant prices for food, gas, and other household essentials are chipping away at middle- to low-income Americans’ paychecks.
With fewer dollars to spend, parents across the country face financial pressures, making it nearly impossible to provide for their families. As a parent, I know that financial strain doesn’t just make it hard to put food on the table. It engrosses all decisions, like where to send your kids to school and how much time you can spend with them while balancing a full-time job.
To help families get back on their feet, government support is needed.
Thanks to some fundamental improvements to the child tax credit proposed by Republican U.S. Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Steve Daines of Montana, the program has an opportunity to ease the bite of rising prices while ensuring family growth.
Under this plan, a $3,000-per-child tax credit would be doled out monthly for families with children between the ages of 6 and 17, and a $4,200 benefit for each child younger than 6.
Importantly, these benefits would begin during pregnancy, recognizing that costs start to add up for expecting mothers even before a child is born. Early allotment of the benefit would also assure mothers they have the financial means to care for their child once he or she is born.
Most important is that this bill rewards family formation while promoting the dignity of work, a value many Americans are starting to lose.
As a state senator here in Indiana and ranking member on the Family and Children Services Committee, I prioritize policies both at the state and federal level that give Hoosier families as many opportunities as available to be able to work while providing for their families.
The child tax credit would do just that, removing barriers such as child care affordability that often get in the way of a fulfilling career.
While the improvements proposed by Republicans are much needed and will shape the child tax credit into a more pro-family program, it has already proven successful in improving family well-being.
A survey found that 53% of parents said the temporary expansion to the child tax credit along similar lines allowed them to put more money toward food, while 44% said they could now purchase clothes and other essentials for their children.
From a warm jacket to wear to school or a house to do your homework in, access to everyday essentials can make or break a kid’s future. We can’t underestimate the financial and social support parents need to provide security for their children.
There’s also no denying that children raised in families facing fewer financial stresses are less likely to experience neglect. Within five years, Indiana saw a 68% increase in the number of children in foster care, with neglect being by far the most common reason for placement.
As a state that ranks among the top five for foster care placements, much needs to be done to reinstate the critical role a parent plays in a child’s life, and I’m confident the Republican-led tax credit would help low-income parents take care of a variety of obstacles that often limit their ability to care for their families.
As we head into a new Congress, now is the time for U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana, to help families throughout the state by supporting the pro-family and pro-work child tax credit.
This is a perfect opportunity for him and his fellow Republicans to reorient the government around the family without giving federal bureaucrats control over parents’ decisions in how they run their household.
While it perhaps may be one of the most challenging times to raise a family, we can’t underestimate the importance of prosperous parents and children to our country.
Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, is an Indiana state senator representing District 38. He serves on the Senate Family and Children Services, Public Policy, Appropriations, and Elections committees.