Last week, 39 million American parents began receiving a monthly child allowance ($300 per child under 6 years old, $250 per child ages 6-17). It’s the biggest helping hand to American families in more than 85 years.

They need it. Even before the pandemic, child poverty had reached postwar records. Even non-poor families were in trouble, burdened with deepening debt and missed payments. Most were living paycheck to paycheck — so if they lost a job, they and their kids could be plunged into poverty. It’s estimated that the new monthly child allowance will cut child poverty by more than half.