February 08, 2021

Duckworth, Cramer, Casey Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Help Families with Diaper Needs


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the bipartisan End Diaper Need Act today to provide resources to assist low-income and middle-class families address their diaper needs and help ensure the health and well-being of those who rely on diapers, including infants, toddlers, medically complex children, low-income adults and adults with disabilities. This legislation would provide funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Social Services Block Grant program to assist families with their diaper needs. It would also provide at least 200 medically necessary diapers per month under the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver Program and make medically necessary diapers eligible for reimbursement through Health Savings Accounts. Duckworth is the first Senator to give birth while serving in office and in 2018 she advocated for the Senate to change its rules so she could bring her infant onto the Senate floor. A companion version of this bill was introduced in the House by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03).

In the middle of a global public health crisis—with so many families struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads—the last thing parents should have to worry about is being able to buy diapers that are essential to the health and well-being of their children,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m proud to work with Senator Cramer and Senator Casey on this bipartisan bill that would help provide low-income and middle class families with this basic need and enable them to better support their families.

“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.”

“Far too many families are struggling to purchase diapers and few programs exist to help with this issue. One in three mothers have reported that, at times, they have not been able to afford diapers. This is unacceptable,” said Senator Casey. “This is why I am introducing the End Diaper Need Act with Senator Duckworth and Senator Cramer. I will continue to fight to ensure families have the basic necessities needed to support the emotional and physical well-being of their children.”

Diapers are not only critical for those who wear them; they’re also essential for the economic and emotional health of a family as a whole. However, in this country, 1 in 3 families has reported not having enough diapers. It’s estimated that infants require up to 12 diapers a day, while toddlers need up to 8 per day, costing up to $80 per month per baby.

To address this problem, the End Diaper Need Act would: 

  • Appropriate $200 million per year for fiscal years 2022 to 2025 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 HSAs or HRAs.

The COVID-19 pandemic has both highlighted and exacerbated the issue of diaper need in America. Prior to the pandemic, one in three families struggled to get enough diapers to keep their child clean, dry, and healthy. During the pandemic, those numbers have skyrocketed. But even in the months ahead as the country recovers, diaper need will remain unacceptable high without any intervention, keeping parents out of the workforce, jeopardizing infant health, and preventing families from thriving. The End Diaper Need Act is critically needed legislation to finally address diaper need in America and give our families the support they need to live full and healthy lives,” Joanne Goldblum, CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network.

Text of this bill can be found here.

Senators Duckworth, Cramer and Casey were joined by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Tina Smith (D-MN) in introducing this legislation.

In addition to the National Diaper Bank Network, the following organizations have endorsed this legislation: The Center for Baby and Adult Hygiene Products; The Center for Law and Social Policy; First Focus Campaign for Children; Huggies(R); National WIC Association; NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice; Pampers(R); Parents as Teachers; Proctor & Gamble; Prevent Child Abuse and ZERO TO THREE.