Illinois lawmakers propose diaper stipend for low-income families

(WAND) — A report from Nielsen IQ found the price of diapers is up 20% from a year ago, pushing family budgets to the brink. Now Illinois lawmakers are hoping to support low-income families with a diaper stipend.

“Its like you have to decide whether or not to pay bills or buy diapers,” Tabatha Chasteen told WAND News.

Chasteen has seven children, so she knows firsthand how many diapers babies go through each day.

“I have a three year old and I also have a three year old granddaughter— and they go through a lot of diapers,” Chasteen explained.

Chasteen said the daily necessity takes a big bite out of her budget.

“Between $40 and $50 every 2 weeks. And I’m low-income anyway— so I don’t have a lot of money to spare anyway,” Chasteen added.

But families like hers could soon benefit from a bill introduced by Illinois lawmakers to provide a diaper stipend.

“This is also a pathway to make sure our families have what they need,” Illinois Representative Lakeisha Collins said during a press conference in Springfield. She is authoring a House version of the bill that she hopes will be passed in the coming months.

Families who earn at or below the federal poverty level, and have primary custody of their child, could receive $70 each month to pay for diapers.

“Over 114,000 children across the state of Illinois would benefit from this diaper allowance,” State Senator Karina Villa, of Illinois’ 25th District, said during a press conference Wednesday. Senator Villa has introduced her own version of the bill in the Illinois Senate.

“$70 would buy like a box or two. But in the grand scheme of things, $70 would be a big huge help,” Chasteen added.

Advocates say this isn’t just a financial issue, but a health one as well.

“Children and families with diaper need report poorer sleep, increased reports of diaper rash and more incidents of urinary tract infections,” Mike Shaver, President and CEO of Children’s Home and Aid said during a press conference.

“My daughter has really sensitive skin and so I literally have to change her right after she uses her diaper. You just have to, especially for girls they can end up with yeast infections,” Chasteen explained.

This proposed bill is modeled after programs in place in California and Washington state.

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February 8, 2023 at 10:36PM

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