NEW HAVEN, CONN., June 17, 2016—As the foremost authority on diaper need in America, the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) commends U.S. Senators Al Franken and Bob Casey for introducing the Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act (S. 3070).
A companion bill to HR 4055, released in the House by Representatives Keith Ellison and Rosa DeLauro, the proposed legislation would make available Federal grant funds for States to create, administer, and evaluate innovative programs that provide access to one of the most basic needs of every infant and toddler, clean diapers.
“We are thrilled with and proud to support the legislation introduced by Senators Franken and Casey,” said NDBN Executive Director Joanne Goldblum.
“All babies deserve access to clean diapers. As more Americans learn about diaper need, they are increasingly supporting the diaper bank movement, and our simple solution to improving all of our communities … providing diapers to babies in need.”
Many working families cannot afford the high cost of diapers because diapers cannot be purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds (Food Stamps). In addition, the benefits received under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) are insufficient to cover diapers and daily expenses such as rent or clothing. Lack of access to diapers and supplies can cause children to get sick, and force families to miss work in order to care for their infant or toddler.
In a written statement, Sen. Franken said, “No family in our country should go to the store and be forced to choose between buying diapers or groceries. But unfortunately, about one-in-three American families face financial barriers to accessing diapers for their kids. We can’t ignore this crisis: our new legislation would provide support to state and local governments and other organizations that provide diapers to low-income families, and it needs to be passed into law.”
Sen. Casey added, “It is unfathomable to think about the pressures families face who cannot afford basic needs such as diapers for their infants and toddlers. This legislation will help to curb the high cost of diapers while also keeping our children healthy. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to support this commonsense legislation and pass it swiftly through Congress.”
The bill would address the increased burden that maintaining the health and hygiene of infants and toddlers places on families in need, the resultant adverse health effects on children and families, and the limited child care options available for infants and toddlers who lack sufficient diapers, which prevents their parents and guardians from entering the workforce.
More than 300-member diaper banks make up the National Diaper Bank Network and serve communities throughout the country. However, these nonprofit organizations, alone, are unable to meet the demand for diapers and supplies. Diapers are a necessity for the health and well-being of every child and family. The bill authorizes and funds State demonstration projects that provide diapers or a diaper subsidy for low-income and working families.