The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) temporarily expanded the child tax credit (CTC) for most families with children. The CTC was already a key policy that reduces poverty among children and their families along with the earned income tax credit; the CTC expansion increased the maximum credit for many and extended benefits to very low–income families who had previously been ineligible for the CTC or received only limited benefits.
To improve awareness and take-up of the newly expanded CTC, Share Our Strength, a national organization working to end childhood hunger and poverty in the United States, provided grants to organizations and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in 13 states to improve outreach, tax assistance, and policy advocacy in the post-tax season (the regular tax season to file 2021 taxes opened January 24, 2022, and ended April 18, 2022). These organizations came together as a community of practice, learning together and sharing information in pursuit of their common goals.
To facilitate learning from the experiences of the community of practice, the Urban Institute conducted an assessment of their successes, challenges, strategies, and results. This evaluation includes a case study of grantees in each of the 10 states, as well as two briefs on nationally focused work being led by the National Disability Institute and work with Native communities in three additional states (Montana, South Dakota, and Minnesota) supported by the Oweesta Corporation. Case study reports seek to summarize and document grantees’ activities, strategies, successes and challenges, best practices, and any actions taken toward improving equitable receipt of the CTC. These insights can inform ongoing outreach efforts for the expanded CTC, as well as outreach efforts for other tax benefits directed toward low- and middle-income families like the EITC.