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Legislation to Enhance Access and Affordability of Diapers for DC Families

February 17, 2022

Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Henderson introduced the Diaper Affordability and Access Act of 2022. This legislation would provide an additional $100 per month to families with children under three enrolled in the Temporary and Needy Families (TANF) Program intended for diaper expenses. This bill would also establish a new diaper bank grant program, increasing access to free diapers for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Babies use an average of eight to ten diapers per day, and toddlers use six to eight. Per child, this can cost a family up to $100 per month. According to the National Diaper Bank Network, the need for diapers increased 500% when compared to pre-pandemic need. In contrast, diaper donations have only increased 86% during this same timeframe. The increasing cost of diapers places a serious burden on low-income families forcing them to make the hard decision between keeping the lights on or purchasing diapers.

“As a mom of two young children, I understand how essential and expensive diapers truly are. We know that infants and toddlers use anywhere from six to ten diapers per day, yet this item is often excluded from family assistance programs, like SNAP or WIC,” said Councilmember Henderson. “This legislation would support our families enrolled in TANF with an additional monthly benefit of $100 intended for diaper expenses. We would also expand access to free diapers through a diaper bank grant program available for any family in need.”

This bill establishes a diaper grant program to be administered by the Department of Human Services. Under the diaper grant program, a grant will be issued for the purchase and distribution of free diapers to families with infants under three that qualify for income-contingent federal or local government assistance programs and indivduals who are experiencing homelessness. Further, this bill will provide a supplemental benefit of $100 each month for diapers to any family that has a child under three and is enrolled in TANF. We must meet the growing demands of our most vulnerable families in the District.

The Diaper Affordability and Access Act of 2022 was co-sponsored by Councilmembers Brooke Pinto, Janeese Lewis George, Charles Allen, Trayon White Sr., Mary M. Cheh, and Robert C. White Jr..