diaper need awareness weekSeptember 25 to October 1, 2017

Archive for March, 2016

White House Takes Action to Keep Babies Clean, Dry & Healthy

Posted on: March 16, 2016 by admin

The following column by National Diaper Bank Network Executive Director Joanne Goldblum originally appeared March 14, 2016 in the Impact What Works section of The Huffington Post


Last week the White House announced a major policy initiative to help the one in three American families who experience diaper need. For someone who has spent the last 12 years working to get free diapers to families who cannot afford them, it was obviously a big day.

I started out by getting friends to buy cases of diapers at a warehouse club and giving them out to local social service agencies from my living room. Today diaper banking is a national movement. The National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) has more than 280 member organizations working to keep babies, clean dry and healthy. It was an enormous boost to the movement when the White House matched online retailer Jet.com with a diaper manufacturer to find ways to package and ship diapers at lower cost to families and nonprofits all across the country. It’s feasible that this year NDBN members could buy more than 15 million diapers from this program – allowing them to help many, many babies.

Diaper need is getting attention at the highest levels because it is a huge problem with far-reaching effects. When I worked as a clinical social worker, I witnessed families reusing soiled diapers — dumping solid waste out and air-drying urine soaked diapers — because they could not afford enough diapers for their infants and toddlers. It’s horrible to think of any baby spending the day in a dirty diaper. It’s also horrible to think of parents having to choose between their baby’s comfort and paying the electric bill.

The ramifications of diaper need don’t end there. Children can get diaper rash and even serious infections requiring hospitalization by staying too long in a dirty diaper. Most child care providers will not accept a baby unless parents provide a supply of disposables. So diaper need makes parents miss work and keeps families trapped in poverty. It makes children miss out on early childhood education, and that is associated with kids achieving less in school and ending their education earlier.

NDBN collaborated with the New Haven MOMS Partnership at the Yale University School of Medicine on a study that showed a link between diaper need and maternal depression. Maternal depression in associated with a host of bad outcomes for families, including involvement in the child welfare system.

NDBN opened its doors five years ago to help start up local diaper banks, which operate much like food banks, and to increase their capacity to help families, while drawing national attention to diaper need. With the support of our founding sponsor Huggies®, we started a movement. Today, NDBN is comprised of more than 280 member diaper banks and diaper pantries helping families in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. Plus, Huggies continues to donate more than 20 million diapers to the network every year — 120 million diapers since 2011. At the request of the White House, they’re donating two million more free diapers to NDBN in 2016, upping their support to 22 million diapers. And, if consumers jump on board and donate Huggies Rewards to the cause, Huggies will add an additional one million.

That’s incredible – and also not enough. Diaper need is pervasive among the 5.3 million children under the age of three living in poor and low-income families. Diaper banks serve about 1 million of those children.

Most diaper banks start with a few good hearted people saying: “Let’s have a diaper drive in the office,” or: “I’ve got a minivan and I’m free on Wednesdays. What can I do?” I am convinced that we would not have the attention of the White House or tech leaders without the years of work done by all the dedicated individuals who make up the diaper bank community. The truth is that diaper need is an enormous problem that we need to address at every level, from the national to the personal.

Personally, we need you, dear reader, and your faith community, workplace or civic group. Whether you want to give a couple of bucks or make the diaper movement your personal mission, we need you. There are many, easy ways to get involved:


Or come up with your own creative idea. The first time that you hand a package of diapers to a mother or father, you’ll be hooked. A package of diapers seems like a small thing. But it makes a huge difference to family in need, a difference you can be part of.

The White House Takes on Diaper Need

Posted on: March 11, 2016 by admin

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NEW HAVEN, Conn., March 10, 2016—Today, the White House announced a series of welcomed steps to increase access to diapers for low-income families experiencing diaper need, including the launch of a new Community Diaper Program, as well as an increase in donations of free diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN).

The Community Diaper Program, developed by the online commerce site Jet.com, will provide nonprofit organizations that serve families in need with the opportunity to purchase high-quality diapers for infants and toddlers at significantly reduced prices.

Huggies will donate an additional two million free diapers to NDBN, upping its planned donation in 2016 from 20 million to 22 million diapers. Plus, for every diaper donated through the Huggies Rewards program, from now through April 10, Huggies will match those donations up to 1 million additional diapers to NDBN.

According to Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, “The poorest families in America, can end up paying twice as much for diapers compared to wealthier families, which makes no sense. In fact, many families are not able to provide the diapers needed to keep their babies healthy. This is something that we believe we can help local communities address.”

The Community Diaper Program will enable qualified nonprofit organizations to purchase low-priced diapers beginning in late April 2016. The application process will be expedited for NDBN members that maintain independent 501(c)(3) status. NDBN members interested in the program can begin the application process by logging on to Jet.com/JetCares.

“Having the White House recognize that American families are struggling to provide even the most basic needs for their children is a huge step forward for the diaper bank movement,” said NDBN Executive Director Joanne Goldblum. “Our solution to addressing diaper need is simple. Help families when and where you can by providing basic needs, like diapers. We believe small things impact big things.”

As the foremost authority on diaper need in America, NDBN was invited by The New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership at the Yale School of Medicine to help provide insight to Jet and to the White House as to the prevalence of the issue and the growing diaper bank movement. NDBN also explained how community-based diaper banks and diaper pantries help improve the well-being of families in need by collecting, warehousing, and distributing donated and purchased diapers. NDBN’s membership includes more than 280 community-based diaper banks and diaper pantries located throughout the U.S.

Kimberly-Clark first brought the issue of diaper need to the forefront in 2010, when the groundbreaking Huggies Every Little Bottom study revealed one in three U.S. moms suffer from the inability to provide fresh, clean diapers for their babies.* These parents often have to choose between paying for food or diapers which can lead to increased stress and strife. Following the study, Huggies took action and became the founding sponsor of the NDBN, and has since donated more than 160 million diapers to babies in need.

In conjunction with the Community Diaper Program, Jet.com is rallying support among its customers to make financial contributions to NDBN’s Funds for Change grant program for diaper banks and diaper pantries.


Understanding the Impact of Poverty & Basic Needs

Posted on: March 7, 2016 by admin


The following article appeared in the March 2016 issue of the Woodland Post, the newsletter for the UCONN/St. Francis Department of Family Medicine Residency Program and Asylum Hill Family Medicine Center, Inc. (Hartford, Conn.).


“I didn’t realize all the limits for federal assistance,” wrote a Family Medicine second year resident following a recent professional training workshop held for new doctors at the center. The comment honed in on a common assumption made by many people, even those who provide care to families living in poverty…that government safety-net programs like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provide all the basic needs required of families, particularly those with children. The reality is that significant gaps exist.

“No Federal programs pay for things like soap, toilet paper, tampons, or even diapers for babies,” said Joanne Goldblum, MSW and author of a new Basic Needs-Informed Curriculum that she presented last month at FMCAH. “Even the most seasoned healthcare professionals are often shocked to discover the gaps that exist in meeting the basic needs required for improving the well-being of families living in poverty.”

Goldblum’s curriculum challenges physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and others to first consider poverty-related issues in their patient intakes, assessments, and delivery of medical care. The adoption of basic needs-informed care can result in a more effective, efficient delivery of services and supports.

Becoming basic needs-informed starts with asking the right questions and thinking hard about how a lack of resources can affect health and wellness. For example, a dirty apartment, piles of unwashed laundry, or no toilet paper in a home can be identified by medical and social work professionals as signs of mental health issues and a need for clinical intervention.

However, sometimes such conditions are the result of a lack of money, which seems like an easy problem to solve. “Often the simplest solutions are the right solutions, and can be identified by asking highly personal, yet appropriate questions,” said Goldblum. But what are the right questions?