Policy Resource

ZERO TO THREE Endorses New Bill Tackling Baby Poverty

Apr 10, 2019

New bill would boost economic security for 44 million households

WASHINGTON—Early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE endorsed this week the Working Families Tax Relief Act (WFTRA)—introduced by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Ron Wyden (Ore.)—that would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), boosting the economic security of 44 million households.

WFTRA would create a new and fully refundable Young Child Tax Credit for children under 6, benefiting an estimated 43 million children, and lifting 10 million children above or closer to the poverty line. It would also expand the EITC for families with children by about 25 percent, increasing the maximum EITC for a family with two children to $7,290. Additionally, the bill would make the CTC fully refundable, so that children in low- and moderate-income households that owe nothing or little in taxes can benefit.

“ZERO TO THREE applauds the introduction of the Working Families Tax Relief 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 Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit are important steps to providing additional income for families during a time when it will have the greatest impact on their babies’ development.”

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 recently released report 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 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 Working Families Tax Relief Act to reduce child poverty is 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 infants 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.