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Tennessee becomes the first US state to provide families with 100 diapers per month

Tennessee becomes the first state to provide free diapers to families as part of the Medicaid program.

The initiative, known as the TennCare III Amendment, has received federal approval and is expected to be available later this summer, the division of TennCare announced Tuesday.

Parents have access to up to 100 diapers per month at no charge until the child turns 2 years old. Babies typically use hundreds of diapers per month. The children must be insured under TennCare or CoverKids to receive the benefit.

Tennessee state lawmakers allocated $30 million in funding for the program during last year’s legislative session. The initiative was originally introduced by Republican Governor Bill Lee as a “pro-life” and “pro-family” policy to allocate a portion of $330 million in savings from the state’s Medicaid financing structure.

Tennessee becomes the first state to provide free diapers to eligible families (Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)Tennessee becomes the first state to provide free diapers to eligible families (Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)

Tennessee becomes the first state to provide free diapers to eligible families (Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images)

In a statement to the TennesseanMr. Lee said, “Strong families are critical to strong communities, and Tennessee leads the nation in prioritizing resources for families in need. We are the first state in the country to cover the cost of diapers for mothers in the first two years of a child’s life and we hope this is a model for others.”

TennCare said it is now focused on finalizing key details of the benefit and will provide further information on how to obtain diapers when they become available in August.

According to the Nashville Diaper Connection, a nonprofit organization that provides diapers to needy families in the city, babies born into poverty can spend a day or more in one diaper. Being in the same diaper can cause infections such as rashes, fever, blisters and boils.

Currently, no federal program offers diaper assistance, even though parents must estimate they spend nearly $1,000 annually on the product. Most daycares will turn away parents if they cannot provide a day’s worth of diapers, perpetuating a cycle of financial insecurity.

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