The Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition is a cross-cutting group of national, state, and grassroots organizations. Our mission is to create a child allowance, or a guaranteed minimum income for children, that provides regular, meaningful assistance to families, promotes racial equity and justice, enjoys broad public support, and serves as a foundation for a more equitable and inclusive social support system. We see the expansion of a fully inclusive Child Tax Credit as a step toward that goal.
Families are working harder than ever but are finding it increasingly difficult to provide for their needs. Compared to other wealthy countries, the United States has high rates of child poverty. And because of how systemic racism shapes policies, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and immigrant children in the U.S. have significantly higher poverty rates than White children. A child allowance, or a guaranteed income for children, can reduce poverty, advance racial and economic equity, improve child well-being, and help families afford the essentials that children need to thrive.
The ABC Coalition is co-chaired by the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP). Here is a list of the ABC Coalition’s steering committee and active members.
Our Vision: Why We Advocate for a Child Allowance
A child allowance can help reduce child poverty and increase overall family well-being, both in the immediate and long-term future. The Center on Poverty & Social Policy estimates that an annual child allowance of $3,600 for children under age six and $3,000 for children ages six to 17 would reduce child poverty by 45 percent overall, with significant poverty reductions for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous children.
A child allowance would also improve child well-being in the long term. In their 2019 report, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) synthesized decades of research, affirming that adequate income is essential to children’s well-being and that it improves long-term outcomes for children, such as educational attainment, employment, and health.
In 2021, the United States expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) through the American Rescue Plan, creating a foundation for a child allowance. Under the American Rescue Plan expansion, CTC benefits were increased, payments were delivered monthly, and families with lower incomes became eligible for the full benefit for the first time ever. The improved CTC has been a lifesaver for families, keeping 3.7 million children from poverty in December 2021, the sixth month of regular payments. Research shows that making the expanded CTC permanent would advance racial equity, cutting poverty for Black children by 52 percent, Hispanic children by 45 percent, and Indigenous children by 61 percent.
This expansion is a step towards reforming the CTC to function like a child allowance, with significant impacts on racial equity and economic justice. We advocate for making the expanded CTC permanent and seek to further improve the CTC for families.
Our Approach: How We’re Working Towards a Child Allowance
The ABC Coalition’s mission is to create a child allowance, or a guaranteed minimum income for children, that provides regular, meaningful assistance to families, and promotes racial and economic justice. To achieve this vision, it is essential that we work intersectionally, intentionally, and impactfully within the Coalition and with partners. We work together to achieve our vision by:
- Creating a formal platform for sharing ideas, research, projects, and educational opportunities to advance a child allowance.
- Uplifting families’ voices by bringing families and youth into the policymaking process.
- Educating, strategizing, and communicating with policymakers to advance a child allowance.
The ABC Coalition sees the Child Tax Credit (CTC) as a way to achieve a true child allowance in the U.S. and is actively advocating to make the expanded CTC permanent and fully inclusive. The Coalition is committed to improving the CTC by: working to ensure it is inclusive and reaches the children and families who need the support the most, provides long-term, reliable support for families, and advances racial and economic justice.
See our Year in Review, to learn more about our work and accomplishments in 2022.
The Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition is a cross-cutting group of national, state, and grassroots organizations. Does your mission align with ours? Learn more and join us today.
Our goal is to create a permanent automatic benefit for children. But we can’t do it without your help. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to support and amplify our work, and to ensure you have the latest information from the Automatic Benefit for Children (ABC) Coalition.