The Bronx NY is a majority, minority community, one of the poorest in the country, and is disproportionately impacted by adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). The “Bronx-PEACH” (Bronx–Promote EITC to support At-risk Children) program will determine if enhanced Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) outreach and education activities in an eight zip code area at high risk for ACEs will result in (1) increased EIC receipt and (2) changes in risk and/or protective factors for ACEs. It will build on the collaboration established by the Montefiore Care Management Organization (CMO) and the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) to conduct the recently awarded seven-year CMS CMMI Bronx Equity–Integrated Care for Kids (BE-InCK NY) project.
The BE-InCK NY project features a multisectoral partnership of health, education, social services, and justice organizations which focuses on an eight-zip code Bronx area to improve care for children and pregnant women. Within the BE-InCK NY area are two designated Opportunity Zones. This area, with a total population of over 610,000 residents, corresponds demographically to an important EITC target area with moderately sized diverse immigrant populations, and individuals who are self-employed, are Hispanic, who are limited English speaking, or who did not complete high school.
Bronx-PEACH will be integrated into the BE-InCK NY structures consisting of a partnership council and topical workgroups. Executive staff from the New York City Agency for Children’s Services (ACS) will help identify and facilitate engagement with a broader range of public and private sectors partners. Many BE-InCK NY health partners routinely screen for ACEs among their pediatric patients. Among the major partners in BE-InCK NY is BronxWorks, the Bronx’s largest social service provider, who has over a decade of contracting with the New York City Department of Workforce and Consumer Affairs (DWCA) to provide tax preparation support throughout the Bronx.
In the proposed project BronxWorks will deploy and enhance its existing resources and tools for EITC marketing and education to conduct virtual, culturally and linguistically appropriate EITC outreach and education activities within the community and with current BE-InCK NY partners to create heightened awareness among partner staff and encourage them to use their established relationships to reach, engage and educate low-income families and individuals about the EITC. BronxWorks will provide tax filing and EITC support to program participants. BronxWorks and other partners not routinely screening clients for ACEs will incorporate screening into routine activities. Through project activities we expect to generate an average increase of over 550 EITC claims and to decrease the incidence of depression as measured through the PHQ2 among program participants. Consistent with the BE-InCK NY we will use a demographically matched 8-zip code area in Brooklyn for comparison.
Project results will be disseminated to federal, state, and city agencies through a variety of strategies – presentations organized in collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH), NYC ACS, and NYC WDCA programs; briefings for city and state policymakers; and return outreach engagements with community organizations and community members. Project results will be published in journals such as the American Journal of Public Health and disseminated to web sites such as http://www.taxcreditsforworkersandfamilies.org/. On a statewide level project results will be disseminated through the BE-InCK NY relationship with the NYS DOH. Sustainability discussions for DWCA to support BronxWorks expansion to an area which they have not previously formally served will begin after year one.