Cash aid to low-income mothers has been shown to benefit the mental development of their babies, according to Dr. Hiro Yoshikawa, a professor of Globalization and Education at New York University.
A new study showed that children of mothers who received $330 a month in comparison to $20 a month had significantly higher brain activity.
‘“The findings are important because this is the first causal demonstration that poverty reduction provided in this way might influence infants’ brain activity as early as 12 months after payments, as early as development as at 12 months of age,” Yoshikawa said while appearing on Hill.TV’s “Rising.”
The findings could bolster efforts by President Biden and Democrats to expand the child tax credit for families in lower income brackets.
Yoshikawa said the specific reasons for the cognitive gains wasn’t clear, but one possibility is that parents are using the extra money to invest in their children’s learning and development.
“Another is that there might be reductions in parents’ stress levels because of the stresses that are associated with living in poverty,” he added.
Financial aid to low-income mothers should not be a substitute for other methods more targeted support for children in poverty, Yoshikawa noted.
“I would caution against saying that this should replace all early childhood interventions or make us think that interventions like family support or early education are less important,” he said.
“I think all of these are important, but certainly poverty reduction we believe is an important enough agenda item for the United States where the rates of child poverty remain stubbornly high.”