Tennessee Will Become First U.S. State to Supply Parents With Free Diapers

New born child stack of diapers, tebby bear toy on a white wooden background

Photo: TIRLIKK/Depositphotos

It costs the average American with insurance coverage around $2,854 to give birth. Without insurance, the cost skyrockets to $18,865. Labor is just the beginning of expenses that add up when raising a child. In fact, diapers are one of the biggest expenses for parents. For at least the first 24 months of a child's life, parents will spend around $80 a month to keep their bundles of joy happy and healthy. Luckily, for parents in Tennessee, help is on its way.

Federal funding was just approved for families enrolled in TennCare, Tennessee's Medicaid program, to receive 100 diapers a month for children under 2, starting in August 2024. They've also increased the maximum income level to be eligible for TennCare, meaning more families will be able to use the program. While other states have provided funding to diaper banks, Tennessee will be the first in the nation to directly provide the supplies to the 53% of children in the state who rely on TennCare coverage for insurance.

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, half of the nation's parents struggle to buy adequate diapers. A short supply can lead to rashes and infections for the baby and depression for the parents. It also impacts the parents' ability to work. Without enough diapers, daycare programs will refuse to accept children for the day. This led to 25% of American parents with unmet diaper needs having to take an average of five days off of work last month since they had no childcare options.

While the 100 diapers will only cover a third of what young babies typically go through in a month, this is a positive step in a state that often refuses other government funded social programs. This law is a rarity, as well, for having the approval from both sides of the political aisle. Hopefully it will inspire more states to provide much needed resources to families in need. Besides Tennessee's diaper decree, Delaware has also approved providing 80 diapers a week for the first three months of an infant's life.

While these programs will help out the increasing number of families that are having trouble meeting their needs with low wages and high cost of living, diaper banks will still be needed to offset the gap between government provisions and the need for diapers. These government-run programs, though, will help parents rest easier and, maybe even get that elusive full night's worth of sleep.

New government funding will provide low-income families with diapers for babies and toddlers in Tennessee and then Delaware as well.

Diapers, which will be given out for free in Tennessee

Photo: LABOKO/Depositphotos

h/t: [Scripps News]

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Elizabeth Beiser

Elizabeth Beiser is a Contributing Writer and Project Coordinator at My Modern Met. She has a background in American Cultural History with a special focus on Modern art and democratic community building. She received her B.A. in history, with a minor in Studio Arts, and her M.A. in history from the University of Rochester. She has worked on multiple political campaigns, as well as in non-profit operations and direct service. When she’s not writing, she’s experimenting with all varieties of arts and crafts. She also enjoys spending time with four-legged friends and exploring her hometown of Boston.
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