ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The Child Tax Credit is something that will impact 39 million households, including many in Central Florida, and it rolls out on Thursday.

What You Need To Know

That is the day when the IRS will begin sending out advance Child Tax Credits to families with kids, without any further action required of them.

The American Rescue Plan increased the maximum child tax credit to $3,600 for children under the age of 6, and $3,000 for children aged 6-17.

The IRS estimates that 88% of children in the U.S. will qualify for the payments, which will be sent monthly — $300 per month for each child under the age of 6, up to $250 for children 6-17. Families receiving the credits qualify depending upon their income.

For many, the funds are a much-needed boost to catch up on bills like rent and utility. 

“It alleviates some of the worry of, ‘How are we going to go to the grocery store? How the rent is going to be paid?’” said Cynthia Holt, a now-widowed, single mother of four children. “It lets me sleep at night. It gives me that extra (cushion) that I’m missing from being able to work full time.”

Due to her advancing diabetes, Holt works only part-time at a Winter Park nursery. It’s the same school she attended as a child, and where two of her children, 2-year-old Gloria and 4-year-old Envy, currently attend at a discounted rate.

But, even with careful planning, some months are difficult and she feels “strapped” with what payment she will sacrifice.

“You lay up at night trying to figure out, ‘What bill is it going to be this month?’” Holt said. “If the bill or the grocery store, the grocery store will win every time. You just can’t stand to see your kids crying because they’re hungry.”

Child development experts, like Rollins College Professor Dr. Sharon Carnahan, call the IRS child tax credit a “great step in the right direction."

“We should reward people not for having more children, but enable them to be able to take good care of children they have. These children are going to be your neighbors, your shop keepers,” she said. “You can’t expect a 5-year-old to pull herself up by her boot straps … equity is part of our legacy of love as human beings”

But, as Carnahan points out, there is much work to be done.

Without paid family leave — only permissive — and with privatized care, which works upon the notion that those who make more can afford higher quality, families are often scrambling.

“The bigger picture is the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have a national plan for care for children and education for children birth to 5,” Carnahan said. “The pandemic peeled the roof off of a failing early childhood care and education system in our country.

Receiving the tax credits enables "parents to pay the market price, so they can get back to work,” she said.

Not all have applauded the plan.

For instance, in a statement released Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio called the tax credit payments a transformation into a “monthly welfare program,” and said the child allowance is “anti-work" and is not "pro-family.”

As for Holt, she feels relieved that some funds will pad out her family’s monthly expenses.

“You don’t have to say, ‘Well, you can only have one slice of bread tonight., " she said. "That makes me feel good."