Policy Resource

ZERO TO THREE Endorses New Bill Confronting Baby Poverty

Mar 7, 2019

Young Child Tax Credit Would Cut Child Poverty in Half, Give Infants and Toddlers a Strong Start in Life

WASHINGTON — Early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE endorsed this week The American Family Act—introduced by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in the U.S. Senate and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) in the U.S. House of Representatives—that would create a new Young Child Tax Credit. This would expand on the existing Child Tax Credit (CTC) to establish a new tier of credit of $300 per month ($3,600 per year, up from $2,000 per year) for children under age 6.

The bill would also expand the maximum CTC to $250 per month ($3,000 per year up from $2,000 per year) for all children ages 6 to 19. The current CTC only allows a credit for children under age 17. And by making both fully refundable, the bill is expected to cut child poverty in half and virtually eliminate extreme child poverty in the United States.

“ZERO TO THREE applauds the introduction of the Young Child Tax Credit in The American Family Act, which would provide a much-needed income boost to a majority of our nation’s babies and their families,” said Myra Jones-Taylor, chief policy officer at ZERO TO THREE. “Poverty impedes babies’ healthy development. With close to one in four babies experiencing poverty, the Young Child Tax Credit is an important step toward reducing economic stress on families at a time when it will have the greatest impact on their infants and toddlers.”

Data on Babies’ Basic Needs

Babies in many states face persistent hardships—such as food insecurity, unstable housing and exposure to violence—that undermine their ability to grow and thrive, according to a report released last week by ZERO TO THREE and nonpartisan research organization Child Trends.

The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 found that:

  • As many as 45 percent of infants and toddlers in live in poor or low-income households, challenging their ability to meet basic needs like diapers.
  • Twenty-three percent of children in the United States under age 3 are living in poverty.
  • Just 20.6 percent of families with infants and toddlers experiencing poverty are receiving support from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

“For the first time, we’re telling the state-by-state story of America’s babies, and the picture isn’t as rosy as you might think,” said Jones-Taylor. “We have work to do and doing right by our infants and toddlers will require policies based on sound science and budgets that make babies a priority. The bills introduced today to eliminate extreme child poverty in the United States are critical to giving our babies a strong start in life. Delay is not an option.”

Learn more about the Yearbook, see the national profile and access data on nearly 60 indicators of baby well-being for all 50 states and the District of Columbia at stateofbabies.org.


ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/zerotothree, or follow @zerotothree on Twitter.

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