CoIIN Case Study: Promoting Tax Credits in Kenosha to Improve Birth Outcomes

The Infant Mortality Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (IM CoIIN) is a national collaboration between federal, state, and local leaders to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes. LIHF stakeholders have participated in several of the IM CoIIN initiative’s Learning Networks, including the Pre- and Interconception Care network and the Social Determinants of Health network.

The CoIIN Infant Mortality Prevention Toolkit features Wisconsin’s work to address economic inequalities by promoting tax credits, an approach that the Kenosha LIHF Collaborative championed in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ CoIIN Social Determinants of Health network.

Wisconsin’s CoIIN team recognized that 4 out of 5 eligible taxpayers in the state did not utilize the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) available to low and moderate-income families. Because the EITC and CTC federal tax credits enhance financial self-sufficiency and have been associated with improved infant health outcomes, the team chose to pilot a strategy in Kenosha to increase the number of eligible taxpayers that apply through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program at United Way of Kenosha County.

Working alongside the VITA Program, the Kenosha County Division of Health and the Kenosha LIHF Collaborative involved nurse home visitors to distribute flyers to families promoting the tax credits and highlighting VITA community locations for free income tax assistance. United Way of Kenosha County reported record increases in participation for the tax season and efforts to promote EITC and VITA were adopted by Public Health Madison & Dane County. Wisconsin’s success has prompted the IM CoIIN’s interest in developing resources for state teams to expand EITC and VITA promotion throughout the country.

To read the full case study about Kenosha LIHF’s leadership in this effort, please visit the CoIIN Infant Mortality Prevention Toolkit here: http://nichq.org/preventiontoolkit/index.html, click “Social Determinants of Health” and then “Case Studies” to find the Wisconsin example.