Millions of Americans with young children have relied on the child tax credit since the federal government began issuing checks in July 2021. The last round of payments was sent out just before the Christmas holiday — at the same time as the omicron variant surged. Leah Hamilton, associate professor of social work at Appalachian State University, joined Cheddar to discuss what the end to the tax credit means as the U.S. sees the end of many relief programs and its highest number of COVID cases since the start of the pandemic. "It'll become harder for families to meet their basic needs, increasing national childhood poverty rates and the proportion of families who have difficulty putting food on the table, maintaining stable housing, and paying their bills," Hamilton said. She also pointed to research that the credit as a long-term investment in children offsets claims that it contributes to macroeconomic impacts like inflation.