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New campaign will better explain child tax credit


The Board of Supervisors has approved an educational campaign aimed at making certain every eligible family is aware of the new federal child tax credit, which can offer payments of up to $3,600 a year per child, and state stimulus funds.

Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended the push to increase awareness, citing a study estimating that the child tax credit could reduce child poverty by as much as 45 percent.

“Our goal at the county is to ensure that every eligible family is made aware and fully seizes this opportunity to secure funding that can go towards essential needs such as food, rent, child care, clothing and more,” Solis said.

However, many low-income residents who don’t file tax returns or immigrants who are concerned about how accepting public money could affect their immigration status may not realize that the money is available to them, Solis said.

Only slightly more than half of all beneficiaries of CalFresh food benefits statewide applied for an earned income tax credit they were entitled to in 2017, according to a study by the California Policy Lab.

The IRS has made it easy for non-filers to apply for the child tax credit by providing an online signup tool.

Other families may fail to realize that state stimulus payments do not count as income and cannot be used to point to a reliance on government benefits that could negatively affect immigration status.

The county’s plan is to use a coordinated combination of targeted media, social media, community health workers called “promotores” and other grassroots marketing efforts to reach as many people as possible.

The effort will be led by the Office of Immigrant Affairs in the Department of Consumer & Business Affairs.

A progress report is expected back in 30 days.