Durham mom, others to urge Congress to expand Child Tax Credit

Akilah Davis Image
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
Durham mom, others to urge Congress to expand Child Tax Credit
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The clock is ticking and Eshawney Gaston is just days away from running out of baby food for her 8-month-old son Amillion.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The clock is ticking and Eshawney Gaston is just days away from running out of baby food for her 8-month-old son Amillion. She showed the short supply of canned baby food she has left and does not know how she'll find the money to buy more.

"I was getting paid every two weeks and trying to kick out $200 every week. Plus I'm trying to kick out rent every month. Then I'm trying to kick out extra bills every month," she said.

The Durham mother works two jobs, averages 35 hours a week and relies on a friend to babysit while she works because she can't afford daycare.

"Right now we're living diaper to diaper," said Gaston. "I did kind of have to stretch out his milk to make it last longer.

That's why she along with other moms across the country are calling on lawmakers to expand the child tax credit. It launched in 2021 during the pandemic as a way to financially assist families.

According to the census, in 2021 one in four families with young children used the money to cover childcare costs and three in 10 families spent it on school expenses. Data shows Black and Hispanic families use this resource in much higher proportions than White households. It's a resource that advocates call critical.

"The pandemic may be past but the emergency is far from over for North Carolina families," said Beth Messersmith, North Carolina senior director for MomsRising.

She told ABC11 that the Child Tax Credit has helped lift families out of poverty and weather the storm.

"We're seeing with rising costs of inflation folks are still struggling. We hear from folks struggling to afford childcare so they can go to work," she said.

This is a resource Gaston didn't have last year because her son wasn't born, but now it would help.

"I wish they wouldn't have cut that. Don't let that expire. Families need that," said Gaston.