State Issues

Many factors impact the ability of parents and caregivers to provide diapers for babies. States can address these issues by enacting new legislation and policies. The following section outlines approaches that states have taken.

  • Take a look at your state’s sales tax policy on diapers.
  • Read about state programs providing direct assistance for diapers.
  • See how states are funding and investing in diaper banks and diaper distribution programs.
  • Review how TANF operates in your state compared to how it operates in other states.
  • Learn how Medicaid policies on diapers differ from state to state for children whom diapers are part of medical treatment.
  • Learn about efforts to cover diapers under Medicaid for children during diapering years and see how Medicaid policies on diapers differ from state to state for children whom diapers are part of medical treatment.
    Discover how tax credits and deductions can help to support diaper banks in their work to end diaper need.

Diaper Tax

As of July 1, 2024, 26 states currently impose sales tax on diapers. This diaper tax ranges from a low of 4% to a high of 7% in Mississippi and Tennessee. In addition, many cities and counties impose an additional sales tax on diapers.

Children require at least 50 diaper changes per week or 200 diaper changes per month. By ending the sales tax, families can buy 2 additional diapers for every percentage point reduction in the sales tax for the same money they would have used to buy 200 diapers with tax. Learn more about the diaper tax.

Investments in Diaper Banks

States may decide to support diaper banks or other organizations by investing state funding to expand diaper distribution programs. This type of investment can be achieved in several ways:

  • as a line item in the budget;
  • through the action of a state agency; or 
  • By passing legislation specifying that the state will provide funding to the diaper bank.

Currently, 9 states invest in/provide funding for diaper distribution programs. 

  • California – $9 million for 2024-2025; and previously $30 million for 2022-2024
  • Colorado – $2 million for 2024-2025; and previously $4 million for 2022-2024
  • Connecticut*- $700,000 to the Diaper Bank of Connecticut through the Community Resources Fund
  • Florida – $50,000 for the Miami Diaper Bank’s Mobile Diaper Pantry Program for 2024-2025
  • Indiana* – $4 million in TANF funds for 2023-2025
  • Michigan– $4.4 million in TANF Revenue between 2022-2028
  • Minnesota – $1.098 million for 2023-2025
  • New York – $1.5 million for 2024-2025; and previously $500,000 for 2023-2024
  • Washington– $5 million for 2021-2025 

The following states previously invested in community-based diaper banks, but funding has not been reauthorized and/or allowed to expire or run out. Advocates in these states are actively working to renew funding to address diaper need in their respective states.

  • Arizona* – $200,000 (2022-2023)
  • Georgia* – $1.227 million in TANF funds (2021-2022)
  • Hawaii* – $100,000 for the Aloha Diaper Bank
  • Nevada* – $327,000 in ARPA and TANF funds (2021-2022)
  • Vermont – $132,000 in COVID-19 Emergency Funds (2022) and $100,000 to 15 parent-child centers (2023-2024)

*States that do not invest state funding explicitly in a budget or legislation are not linked. 

Direct Assistance to Families 

States can make diapers more affordable and available to families in need by providing direct assistance. This may come in the form of a voucher for diapers, an additional allowance for families as part of a work support program, or distributing diapers directly, through a diaper bank or other diaper distribution program. Such efforts are generally very targeted, in part because of limited state budgets. Currently, California and Washington provide direct assistance to families. In addition, in July 2024, New Jersey passed legislation to establish a one year pilot program to provide direct assistance to Work First New Jersey participants. 

TANF Family Caps

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is designed to help low-income families with children achieve economic self-sufficiency. States receive block grants to design and operate programs that accomplish one of the four broad purposes of the TANF program. To see how your state measures up, click here to access the interactive map.

Diapers and Medicaid

Some states provide Medicaid coverage of diapers, to individuals with qualifying medical conditions and who are beyond the age of typical diapering years. Such policies vary by state. In addition, efforts are being made to cover diapers under Medicaid for children during diapering years as a way to reduce instances of adverse medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections and diaper dermatitis, that come from not changing soiled diapers for long periods of time, often due to diaper need.

In May of 2024, Tennessee became the first U.S. state to officially cover diapers through the state’s Medicaid program, TennCare. In May 2024, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Tennessee’s proposed amendment to its “TennCare III” demonstration project. This amendment allows the state to provide 100 diapers per month to all children under the age of two enrolled in TennCare or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 

Also in May 2024, CMS approved a diaper benefit in Delaware, through the “Diamond State Health Plan” 1115 demonstration. The initiative allows Delaware to provide up to 80 diapers and up to one pack of baby wipes per week to mothers in the first 12 weeks postpartum. This approval extends and expands the “Postpartum Nutrition Supports Initiative” pilot which is an existing state-funded pilot program that provides home-delivered meals or food boxes up to eight weeks postpartum. 

Tax Credits and Deductions 

States can support diaper banks in their work to end diaper need by implementing tax credits and tax deductions. Both measures help to incentivize and encourage donations to diaper banks through a reduction in the amount of money that taxpayers who donate applicable items will owe on their taxes for the year. 

Tax credits such as the Diaper Bank Tax Credit in Missouri directly reduce the amount of taxes that a taxpayer must pay through a dollar-for-dollar deduction. Alternatively, tax deductions such as those available in Maryland reduce the percentage of a taxpayer’s income that is subject to taxes. Learn more about tax credits and tax deductions here.