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Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavenaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a two-fold problem.

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Diaper Assistance in Missouri Could See Change for the Better

Babies need up to 12 diapers a day and many of Missouri's families have trouble affording them. (Michael Baca)
Babies need up to 12 diapers a day and many of Missouri's families have trouble affording them. (Michael Baca)
July 18, 2016

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – One dirty truth – literally – about child rearing is the high cost of diapers.

They cost families from $70 to $80 a month per child.

Congress is considering legislation that would fund pilot programs in Missouri and other states to help low-income families afford the necessity.

Currently, no federal program meets that need, says Alison Weir, director of policy and research for the National Diaper Bank Network.

"You tell people that you can't buy diapers with food stamps or WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) and the first response is 'What?'” she relates. “Neither program is meant for that, but the programs that were meant to cover basic needs have all shrunk to the point where there's a big hole in the safety net."

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the only program that provides money that could be used for diapers.

Missouri recently opted to fund diaper banks, and California is considering a voucher to offset the cost for children enrolled in subsidized day care.

The federal bill has been referred to a House subcommittee for consideration.

Weir says the pressure to provide diapers often forces parents to make tough choices. It's a fact illustrated by a survey from >Feeding America in which parents shared some surprising confessions.

"A large number of folks admitted to delaying changing a diaper or, in some cases, shaking a diaper out and trying to reuse it,” she tells. “And if you don't have diapers in most cases you can't leave your child at day care because most day cares requires parents to provide the diapers their child will use.”

Some 5.3 million children in the U.S. aged 3 years or younger live in poor or low-income families.
Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, toddlers about eight.


Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO