One in three families experiences diaper need. In addition, most child care facilities won’t accept a child without an adequate supply of diapers, preventing low-income families from enrolling their child in child care and returning to work.

Diapers can cost up to $125 per child per month and no government safety net program such as SNAP, WIC or TANF covers this critical need. Low-income families delay changing and reuse diapers to cut costs, resulting in skin and urinary tract infections. A national study indicates mothers with diaper needs experience maternal stress and depression, which can negatively impact a child's health and development and increase their abuse/neglect risk.

What Are Our Legislators Doing?

U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee and Rosa DeLauro have introduced the End Diaper Need Act of 2019. The proposal calls for the creation of a $100 million demonstration program for distributing free diapers and diapering products to help ease the financial burden on low-income families and communities. 

“We know that many low-income families and families of color spend twice as much on diapers for their children compared to families who have the means to buy their diapers in bulk at a lower price,” explains Lee.

Through the act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would provide grants to state or local governments, Indian Tribes or tribal organizations, and nonprofit organizations for programs to help low-income families address diaper needs of infants and toddlers. Grant recipients would have discretion on how to implement the program, including how to best distribute diapers to the families. 

Teresa Winfield, director of grants and data for Happy Bottoms, Kansas City’s diaper bank, says the agency would welcome the impact of the bill. Their data shows 20,000 or more children in the community in need of diaper assistance. Happy Bottoms’ 37 partner agencies and five hospitals provided 2.1 million diapers in 2018 to a monthly average or one-time distribution of 3,059 low-income children.

The bill is currently with the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees.

How Can I Help?

Let your Congressional Representatives know you support H.R. 1846 and ask them to urge members of House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees to act on the End Diaper Need Act of 2019.

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