Diapers are expensive. They're also necessary to keep your baby clean, dry and healthy. That's why Senator Tammy Duckworth introduced a new bipartisan bill to help American families afford the necessary expense. The End Diaper Need Act of 2021 provides resources for low-income and middle-class families to help finance diapers for babies, toddlers, and medically complex children and adults. One-third of all families in America struggle with affording diapers. The National Diaper Bank Network estimates that infants use up to 12 diapers per day, and toddlers need up to 8 every day. Families can spend up to $80 per month per child.
"Quite frankly, families have enough to deal with right now—the last thing they should have to worry about is affording diapers," said Senator Duckworth. Senators Kevin Cramer and Bob Casey are co-leads on the bill. If passed, the End Diaper Need Act would:
  • Appropriate $200 million per year for the Social Services Block Grant Program, to be used to provide diapers and diapering supplies;
  • Allow for 200 medically necessary diapers be provided per month for medically complex children through the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Program; and
  • Make medically necessary diapers and diapering qualified medical expenses so that families can purchase them using their health spending accounts (HSAs) or health reimbursement accounts (HRAs).
"Struggling families and childcare centers are often forced to delay changing a baby or toddler's diaper within an appropriate amount of time, despite the numerous health problems this can cause," said Senator Cramer. "Our bill gets ahead of that problem by modifying existing health care programs so diapers can be provided and by allowing medically necessary diapers to be purchased through health spending accounts. It would help get low-income families and vulnerable children the help they need," he added. Right now, there's no state or federal child safety-net program that allocates money specifically to purchase diapers. Families can't use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to buy diapers, for instance. The issue is compounded for families without reliable transportation. Diapers are often cheaper if purchased in bulk. Parents who need to buy smaller packages of diapers that are easier to carry home will end up spending more than those who can drive home from a store with a large box. Many childcare centers will not accept a child for the day if the family can't provide an adequate supply of diapers, too. "Low-income families with infants spend 14% of their income on diapers alone. It is past time for our government to provide this basic need for the health of millions of children," said Representative Barbara Lee about the companion bill entered in the House. "Families struggled to purchase diapers long before the pandemic, but the spread of COVID-19 has created a dire situation for countless parents, guardians, and caretakers," said Representative Rosa DeLauro, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. "At a time when our local diaper banks have seen double and triple demand for diapers, the federal government should step up to cover this basic need." We agree. No family should be forced to choose between buying diapers or food. Text of the End Diaper Need Act of 2021 can be found here.