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Advance child tax credits a boost for struggling Central Florida families


A major effort by the Biden Administration and Democrats in Congress to reduce child poverty got underway Thursday with advance payments of an expanded child tax credit.

That money -- going directly to bank accounts -- is a boost for struggling families in Central Florida.

The advance child tax credit is part of the American Rescue Plan. It means up to $300 a month for the rest of the year per child under 6 and $250 for older kids.

A head of household earning up to $112,000 and a married couple earning up to $150,000 qualify for the full amount -- half of it coming in these monthly installments.

Kelly Quintero of Second Harvest Food Bank says the money will help families pay for child care.

"So that these families who maybe had to put off looking for a new job or, you know, going back into the office it's going to provide them that flexibility," she said.

She says it could really help the one in five Central Florida kids who go to bed hungry.

Odalys Simmons, who works with Goodwill's virtual job connection, sees the payments as a boost for families affected by the pandemic.

"This will be very helpful for families," she said, "especially going back to school and many parents that are heading back to work and maybe getting a new position, new job, and they need child care and those different things."

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.