For Gloria Acosta, a mother of four, a $1,000 check each month would be life changing.

She’s been jobless for a few years. Her husband, a day laborer, has had little work during the pandemic. His earnings are barely enough to cover rent in the San Fernando Gardens housing project in Pacoima.

An extra grand would help pay for food as well as gas to take the children to school. Acosta would be able to buy them new clothes and school supplies.

She’s entitled to that much under an expanded federal child tax credit, which provides $300 a month for each child younger than 6 and $250 for an older child.

It’s a program meant to fight child poverty during a tumultuous pandemic that brought job loss, illness and grief, and disproportionately affected Black and Latino people.

Immigration attorney Dulce Oliveira, left, answers questions about travel for Gloria Acosta, center, with her mother, Enriqueta Ochoa, at a community fair at San Fernando Gardens in Pacoima in August.

(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Parents who previously had not received child tax credits because of their immigration status or because they did not earn enough to file with the Internal Revenue Service and get the payments automatically are now eligible for the full benefit.

Yet they have proved to be hard to reach. Signing up for the program can be a complicated process, hampered by a lack of information in…

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