Pilot programs could help families afford diapers - WNEM TV 5

Pilot programs could help families afford diapers

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MIDLAND, MI (WNEM) -

The high cost of diapers is a dirty truth about rearing a child but congress wants to help take some of the bite out of that diaper bill.

A pilot program in states including Michigan could help low-income families afford them.

Parents with young kids know diapers are expensive.

"The bottom 20 percent of wage earners spend 14 percent of their income on diapers,” said Debi Keyes with the Diaper Alliance.

Keyes started the Diaper Alliance out of her home in Midland six years ago as a hobby.

Now, the organization distributes tens of thousands of diapers every month to agencies in four counties.

“The majority of these families live below the national poverty level,” Keyes said.

Diapers usually cost $60 to $80 per child every month. For families who have a hard time affording them, sometimes they have to make tough choices.

"Families do have to choose between are we going to buy a gallon of milk or are we going to put that money toward buying a small pack of diapers,” Keyes said.

Now some lawmakers are starting to realize it, too. Congress is considering a measure to help provide some relief to families who have a hard time affording diapers.

“Families cannot use WIC or their bridge cards to buy diapers, those are for food. There’s no resource through the government that pays for or provides diapers at this time,” Keyes said.

Keyes said the pilot programs under consideration could help many families in need in Mid-Michigan and she's happy to see the issue in the national spotlight.

"They're being recognized as an actual need for families and it's exciting to look toward the outcomes that will come from this,” she said.

Nearly one in three families struggle to afford enough diapers for their babies.

Stretching time between diaper changes can lead to serious health problems for both babies and parents.

For more information on the Diaper Alliance and how you can help, click here

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