Skip to main content
U-M Poverty Solutions Logo U-M Poverty Solutions Logo


Back to news

Should the U.S. enact a universal child allowance?

Should the U.S. Enact a Universal Child Allowance?

WHEN: Monday, May 1st, 1:00 PM-5:30 PM EDT

WHERE: Brookings Institution, Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Avenue N.W., Washington, DC, 20036


The current tax system provides financial support to some families with children through the administration of a Child Tax Credit (CTC), which can be worth as much as $1,000 per child, in addition to the support provided through the long-standing child tax exemption. Though several policymakers have proposed expanding or amending the CTC to provide additional assistance, the idea of a Universal Child Allowance—which would instead provide a cash grant to all families with children—is also gaining increased attention as a way to help families meet the costs associated with raising a child. Why do countries around the world have such a program and would it make sense in the U.S.? What would such an allowance look like and what would be its benefits and costs?

On May 1, the Center on Children and Families at Brookings—along with the American Enterprise Institute, the University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions, the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Research on Poverty, and Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy—will host leading experts to discuss the current safety net and potential benefits and costs of a Universal Child Allowance. The event will include presentations and discussions of two new papers by proponents of the Universal Child Allowance, and will conclude with keynote remarks by Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

University of Michigan Ewart A. C. Thomas Collegiate Professor of Psychology Vonnie McLloyd will join representatives from the Brookings Institution, University of Wisconsin – Madison, and Columbia University to discuss current proposals.

The event will be live webcast. Join the conversation on Twitter at #ChildAllowance.



Ron Haskins
The Cabot Family Chair
Senior Fellow – Economic Studies
Co-Director – Center on Children and Families

Jane Waldfogel
Compton Foundation Centennial Professor of Social Work for the Prevention of Children’s and Youth Problems – Columbia University

Panel 1: Setting the context
Kathy Edin of Johns Hopkins University will present on “Problems with the Current U.S. Safety Net,” after which Vonnie McLoyd of the University of Michigan will present on “Why Money Matters.” A panel discussion will take place moderated by Richard V. Reeves.

Richard V. Reeves
Senior Fellow – Economic Studies
Co-Director – Center on Children and Families

Kathy Edin
Professor – Johns Hopkins University
View presentation

Vonnie McLoyd
Professor – University of Michigan
View Presentation

Olivia Golden
Executive Director – CLASP

Ramesh Ponnuru
Senior Editor – National Review
Visiting Fellow – AEI

Panel 2: Proposals for a universal child allowance
Following a presentation by Columbia University’s Chris Wimer Chris Wimer on research conducted with Poverty Solutions at U-M Director Luke Shaefer and other co-authors: “A universal child allowance: A plan to reduce poverty and income instability among children,” and Samuel Hammond of the Niskanen Center of his paper “Toward a universal child benefit,” AEI’s Aparna Mathur will lead a panel discussion of proposals for a universal child allowance.

Aparna Mathur
Resident Scholar, Economic Policy – American Enterprise InstituteChris Wimer
Co-Director, Center on Poverty and Social Policy -Columbia University
View Presentation

Samuel Hammond
Poverty and Welfare Analyst – Niskanen Center

Melissa Boteach
Vice President, Poverty to Prosperity Program – Center for American Progress

Scott Winship
Project Director – Joint Economic Committee

Maria Cancian
Professor – University of Wisconsin

Keynote Remarks
Robert Doar
Resident Fellow and Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies – American Enterprise Institute

Ron Haskins
The Cabot Family Chair
Senior Fellow – Economic Studies
Co-Director – Center on Children and Families

Keynote Remarks
The Honorable Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
The U.S. House of Representatives

Jared Bernstein
Senior Fellow – Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


For more information, visit the Brookings Institution event site.