Families First! Committee Votes to Provide Low-Income Coloradans with Diapers and Expand Family Planning Coverage

DENVER, CO– The House Public and Behavioral Health and Human Services Committee today advanced two bills to help parents with newborns afford diapers and ensure more Coloradans have the support they need to plan for their families’ future. 

“As a new mom, I’ve become more acutely aware of the difficulties that families struggle with while trying to provide a great life for their babies,” said Rep. Kerry Tipper, D-Lakewood, sponsor of both SB21-025 and SB21-027. “That’s why I’m so proud that today we moved to help families afford diapers – one of the most basic necessities that a young family has. I’m also excited that more Coloradans will soon be eligible for family planning services that will ensure they are empowered to make their own decisions about when and how to start a family.”

“Even before the pandemic began, far too many families in Colorado were struggling to afford diapers for their kids,” said Rep. Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, sponsor of SB21-027. “The pandemic’s devastating impact on jobs and hardworking families only made matters worse and put moms and kids in further danger. As moms and lawmakers, my co-prime sponsors and I decided we wouldn’t accept this heartbreaking reality in our state. Today, we’re one step closer to giving young families the support they deserve.”

SB21-027 would help new and recent parents care for their children by ensuring that diaper essentials are available to all low-income families in Colorado. The bill provides $4 million for this purpose and asks the Colorado Department of Human Services to contract with nonprofit organizations to administer diaper distribution centers. Despite the high cost of diapers and estimates that show about 1 in 3 U.S. families report needing more diapers, diapers cannot be purchased through public assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Woman, Infants, and Children program (WIC). The bill passed by a vote of 7-5.

SB21-025, also sponsored by Rep. Perry Will, R-New Castle, would expand Medicaid coverage for family planning services to more individuals who are currently prevented from accessing care because they are just above the eligibility limit. The coverage would give more Coloradans the resources and information necessary to make decisions about how and when to start a family by providing counseling services, access to contraceptives, and information regarding available health care coverage. A majority of states across the country have already taken up the option to raise the Medicaid eligibility. The bill passed by a vote of 7-5.