How Poverty Solutions is Helping Families Navigate the Expanded Child Tax Credit 

In this episode of Michigan Minds, Luke Shaefer, the Hermann and Amalie Kohn Professor of Social Justice and Social Policy and Associate Dean for Research and Policy Engagement at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, explains the Child Tax Credit in President Biden’s stimulus plan and how the University of Michigan is helping families navigate the process through the Poverty Solutions presidential initiative. 

“The child tax credit really starts from a very simple principle —  raising kids is expensive, and society and government have a reason to help parents do that to the best of their abilities,” he says.

“[The tax credit] treats families who are low- and middle-income exactly the same. In that way, we think that it might be more sustainable in the long term. The child tax credit is going to treat low- and moderate-income kids the same, but the poverty reductions are huge. We’re talking projections, from our colleagues at Columbia University, to reduce poverty by 45%, poverty among African American children by 50%, and poverty among Native American children by 60%.”

Shaefer is the inaugural director of Poverty Solutions, which partners with communities and policymakers to find new ways to prevent and alleviate poverty. Poverty Solutions recently launched a new website to help ensure families receive the expanded Child Tax Credit. Resources on the website include detailed information about eligibility, step-by-step guidance, and answers to frequently asked questions. 

“We want to make sure families know what they need to do to get this benefit, they know what it means, and they know what to do. So we created the website,, where families can go and get the basic information, make sure that they’re telling the IRS where to send it, file their taxes…basically get it all set up, and then answer a lot of questions,” he explains. 

Shaefer adds that there are a lot of questions surrounding how the money can be used, whether it impacts other public benefits, and how long the provision will last. The information on the website includes information on all of these topics and will be continuously updated with any emerging details.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more

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