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A new study from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) explores some of the positive effects of tax credits on a child’s well-being as policymakers debate whether to extend them.
In a survey published this month, families reported a significant reduction in child abuse reported in the weeks after receiving federal children and earning income tax credits. During the epidemic, tax credits helped lift millions of families out of poverty.
These findings are relevant because Congress debates that child tax credits were introduced in 2021 as a form of coronavirus epidemic relief. In the last six months of that year, advance credit paid পরিবার 250 to $ 300 per family directly.
The AAP study used extensive child abuse data from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (data includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as neglect). Approximately 1 in 4 children experience child abuse or neglect at some point in their lives, and poverty is associated with an increased likelihood of long-term child abuse.
Researchers at the University of Washington have found suspected child abuse rates over three years in 48 states and DCs, including two years before and one year after the effective date of the 2017 Tax Hikes (PATH) Act. The law extends certain tax credits, but, in a trade-off, gives the IRS more time to process returns in order to eliminate fraud. This delay was a focus of the AAP study, which looked at the number of suspected child abuse cases over the years, within weeks of individuals receiving child tax credit and income tax credit.
Prior to the enactment of the PATH Act, researchers noted that in the first six weeks of the tax season, the number of child abuse cases decreased when payments were made. Following the PATH Act, the payment of earned income tax credits is delayed until the end of February – seven weeks of the tax season – researchers have noticed a similar decline in child abuse, but is now consistent with the delayed timeline.
In both the pre- and post-PATH legislation, the number of reported cases decreased within three weeks of families receiving a tax credit, with 7 fewer child abuse cases per 100,000 children. The more families receive child and income tax credits, the less abuse is reported.
The study also found that for every $ 1,000 household receiving a tax credit per child, the rate of abuse cases has dropped by approximately 5 percent. In the three years of the study, there were an average of 67 cases of child abuse per 100,000 children per week across the country.
Although tax credits are not designed to reduce child abuse, the study is a good example of how public policy can affect a wide range of issues, says Ali Rohani-Rahbar, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Pediatrics at the University of Washington. Author of the study.
“We really need to focus more on social policies and programs that can have an impact on the prevention of violence,” said Rouhani. “Many of these social programs actually have a spillover effect that really affects those risks and protective factors for different types of violence. Here we are talking about child abuse, but it also applies to many other types of violence. So, you expect pediatricians, Both policymakers and community leaders take these results seriously. “
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