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Tax Relief Plan Could Help Central And South Coast Families With Children

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KCLU
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Expanded Child Tax Credits Start This Week

A cash boost for families with children starts this week, and is hoped to be a step out of poverty for many

It’s a nationwide program, but in California’s 26th Congressional district – which includes Thousand Oaks and Oxnard - nearly 40 thousand households, including 145 thousand children, are eligible for the expanded and improved Child Tax Credit.

Democratic Congresswoman Julia Brownley of Westlake Village, says the extra cash is needed to help families now more than ever before.

"For many families it is 30 to 40% of their income to pay for childcare, that is huge. It's very expensive. That's why the federal government needs to be able to step in.

"It's a little investment upfront and a big investment in return. Once you get people into the work force earning money, the economy is better and everyone benefits," she said.

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KCLU
(L-R) Petra Puls from First 5 Ventura County, Maricela Morales from CAUSE, Democrat Congresswoman Julia Brownley of Westlake Village, Eric Harrison from United Way of Ventura County

The Child Tax Credit was increased from $2000 per child to $3600 for each child under 6 and to $3000 for each child aged 6 through 16.

Advance monthly payments of up to $300 per child per month start Thursday.

Petra Puls, the Executive Director of First 5 Ventura County, welcomes the cash boost for families.

"There are pockets in our county with very deep poverty," says Puls. "What we know about poverty is that it has immediate impacts on the developing brain. But it has long term outcomes on social mobility, health outcomes and academic outcomes.

"When we combine all that, kids that grow up in poverty, their chances of being successful in school and in employment are just not as great as their middle income, or higher income, peers.

"This Child Tax Credit can really help families, lift them out of poverty and give them a head start on getting financially stable," said Puls.

Maricela Morales works with low income and underserved families in Ventura County – she is the Executive Director of Central Coast Alliance for a Sustainable Economy – known as CAUSE.

"Low wage workers and minimum wage workers - especially women - have been the hardest hit [by the pandemic]," says Morales.

"The loss of employment, the loss of wages, the absence of unemployment insurance for immigrant families has been a triple whammy.

"We wish we had this from back last March, but it's a big help especially for immigrant families."

United Way of Ventura County help families file their taxes and apply for eligible credits. Eric Harrison is President and CEO. He says that with COVID-19 "everyone has just been struggling to get by."

"Basic needs and food insecurity has been a really big issue in Ventura County, " says Harrison. "Housing has been a really big issue in Ventura County. We have seen a rise in homelessness."

He says it's a big help to have "something like this where you have tax assistance that's out there, and get more money back into the pockets of working families."