We have an exciting announcement! On March 17th, Governor Inslee signed Senate Bill 5838, The End Diaper Need Act. This makes Washington only the second state to pass such a bill acknowledging the diaper needs of low-income families. But what exactly is the bill and why is it so important?
What is the End Diaper Need Act and Why is It Important?
The End Diaper Need Act will take effect beginning in Fall 2023. Starting then, all Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) households with children under the age of 3 will receive a $100 per month grant increase to help pay for diapers. The bill was created in collaboration with stakeholders across the state and was met with a near-unanimous vote.
This legislation is necessary for a few reasons. Diaper needs are often an overlooked challenge many families are faced with. While essential for all infants and toddlers – just as necessary for health and wellbeing as food – no U.S. public assistance program helps families pay for diapers.
In addition, female caregivers, families of color, and low-income families disproportionately face barriers to diaper access for their young ones. The End Diaper Need Act will greatly help those who face these inequalities in accessing diapers.
However, while the bill is a massive step in the right direction, we believe TANF will still fall short of making a substantial impact on their diaper needs. Here’s why we still need your help supporting these families.
Why Your Donations Are Still Necessary
1. Diapers Are Costly
Disposable diapers can cost up to $100 a month per child, with the average child needing up to 12 diapers a day. Nearly 50% of the families we serve have two children requiring diapers. With the TANF cash increase meant for an entire household, families with multiple children will still remain at a disadvantage.
2. Diaper Manufacturer Price Spikes
Due to supply chain disruptions, shipping delays, and inflation, diaper manufacturers continue to introduce price spikes. By the time families pay all other expenses such as electricity bills, rent, clothing, and other necessities, they will have very little TANF left to purchase diapers – if any.
3. TANF is Limited in Reach
Only families making $30,000 or less are on TANF, meaning not all families in need of diapers will receive TANF benefits. Families that hit the program’s 60-month lifetime limit do not qualify. The program also excludes immigrants and refugees who don’t qualify. This means the TANF cash benefits can jeopardize undocumented worker green card applications.
4. Not All Families Qualify for TANF
A family must be extremely poor to qualify for TANF. If they work, these families have to make very little money and prove they’re working a limited number of hours. Otherwise, as soon as these families make above minimum wage, their TANF is reduced or terminated.
How You Can Help
Babies of Homelessness serves 20+ participating Snohomish and King County agencies and thousands of families experiencing diaper needs. And we still rely on your continued support to help these families in need!
Please continue supporting our diaper bank by scheduling a monthly donation here: Give Monthly | Babies of Homelessness.