Aspen Institute: For Children, Better Data Equals Better Policy

Originally published at, July 27, 2021

Starting earlier this month, parents across the country began receiving a monthly cash infusion of up to $250 or $300 per child. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) has been expanded by Congress under the Biden administration’s COVID-19 stimulus programs to reach more parents and make payments monthly instead of annually—a big help given the volatile incomes of US workers.


Organizations like Code for America, SaverLife, Alluma, Propel, and others are using tech for social good—and demonstrating how using person-centered approaches can ensure a policy meets people’s immediate financial needs. During the pandemic, Code for America helped millions of low-income school children get needed lunch money when the free and reduced-price lunch program closed down with the schools. They quickly created digital tools for the public to access and the government to manage the school lunch program. Alluma uses tech to help benefits administrators and others streamline their sign-up and recertification processes so more eligible people can get the support they need. Propel helps SNAP beneficiaries more easily check their balance using an app instead of an arduous phone tree. SaverLife is helping low-income families build a savings habit and, during the pandemic, they partnered with Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners to provide emergency grants of $500 or $1,000 to almost 5,000 families.

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