CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Nonpartisan West Virginia organizations came together at Coonskin Park Thursday to raise awareness for the Child Tax Credit increase.

Part of the American Rescue Plan passed this January by Congress, with eligible families in West Virginia and across the country receiving monthly payments of up to $300 per child.

Gary Zuckett, executive director of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, says the payments are vital for West Virginia families.

“We’d like to see these made permanent because we really think that struggling families, single moms really need a lift up,” he said.

According to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, 346,000 children live in households that could receive their payments this month. They estimate it could reduce poverty by 43 percent.

Many families in the Mountain State live paycheck to paycheck. The money they receive from the Child Tax Credit can go toward necessities like food and child care.

Beth Goodlet is a mother of three who has taken side tutoring jobs for extra income. She says the credit will help families like hers provide for their children.

“This is going to help us out for basic things such as healthy food options for our kids and just things that we need month-by-month,” she said.

Zuckett believes the extra cash can help more people with children get back into the workplace.

“In order to do that, they need to have childcare and in order to have childcare they need to afford childcare,” he said. “This is one of the things I think will help people get back to work is getting this little bump.”

If benefits aren’t extended past this year, parent Angi Kerns believes it will be detrimental to families.

“It will literally be a death sentence to hundreds of thousands of West Virginians and it will only serve to further drive our youth and the future of our state,” she said.

Payments will continue monthly until the end of the year. Under the proposed American Families Plan, the Child Tax Credit would be extended until 2025.

Zuckett said he is hoping the credit will become permanent.