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It Takes a Nation

At Springboard To Opportunities, we believe that poverty – especially the persistent and widespread poverty seen in the United States in comparison to other wealthy countries – is the result of policy choices rather than personal decisions or individual moral failings.

Over the past several years, we have watched this play out in real-time. The bolstered family security policies enacted in 2021, most notably the expanded federal Child Tax Credit, reduced child poverty by almost 30%. However, the following year, after failing to pass the American Families Plan and, despite an increasingly strong labor market as well as an increase in parents’ employment, the number of children living in families with inadequate incomes went right back to the where it had been.

But today, we’re excited to release a new report created in partnership with the Center for Economic and Policy Research called It Takes a Nation. Guided by the voices of Springboard families and utilizing their definition of a prosperous and successful life, this report traces the history of economic security policies within modern US history, noting the way that state-based policies – particularly in the South – have failed to provide the means necessary for families to earn an adequate income.

Using the original provisions of the American Families Plan, which ultimately failed to pass by just one vote in the Senate, and the groundbreaking work and findings of our own Magnolia Mother’s Trust, It Takes a Nation proposes a federal plan for family economic security that would include:

  • A universal and unified child allowance that brings together the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit as a monthly, automatic payment.
  • Paid family and medical leave that includes equitable income support for new parents, disability insurance, and wage replacement for workers caring for family members with serious health conditions.
  • Supplemental security income for caregivers that ensures unpaid caregivers who lack recent employment necessary to qualify for paid leave receive a caregiver allowance.
  • Assured child support in advance that decouples support for means-tested programs and ensures solo parents who seek public child support services are able to receive funds even in cases where the noncustodial parent does not pay or pays late.

Following the lead of MMT and pandemic-era programs, this plan would reduce burdensome requirements and administrative overload, allowing families easier access to benefits and reducing the barriers to access.

We recognize that this a bold and ambitious plan, but it’s also very possible. The truth is, we can make different policy choices – in fact, we did in 2021 and saw the overwhelmingly positive results. We hope you’ll take some time to read the report and join us in calling on our elected officials and leaders to make some new, courageous policy choices for families again today.

It Takes a Nation Cover

It Takes a Nation


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