Basic Needs Curriculum


Becoming basic needs-informed starts with asking the right questions

and thinking hard about how lack of resources can affect health and wellness.


New Curriculum Helps Improve Outcomes

Government assistance and/or low-wage jobs are often insufficient to meet the basic needs of a family or an individual. When people cannot afford things like hygiene products or transportation, their lives are disrupted in many ways.

The first-ever Basic Needs-Informed Curriculum training program is designed to expand the mindset of professionals by coaching participants to consider addressing the gaps in basic needs, and other poverty-related issues, in their agency assessments, patient/client intakes, and/or delivery of medical care to children and families living in poverty.

The curriculum teaches that the adoption of basic needs-informed care can result in a more effective, efficient delivery of services and supports.

We can improve our assessments by understanding and applying basic needs-informed questions to problems whose root cause may be more simplicity than we realize



Social service professionals often concentrate on ‘fixing’ high-level problems,

such as mental health and/or substance issues, encountered by their clients, patients and students.


Who Should Participate

The Basic Needs-Informed Curriculum is for social service, educational and medical professionals who provide assistance and care to poor and low-income families and children.

  • Social Workers
  • Case Managers
  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Psychologists
  • Nurses
  • Doctors

Titled “Basic Needs-Informed Service Delivery: the Myth of Self-Sufficiency,” the curriculum helps professionals develop the mindset to overcome their own implicit biases and identify questions that can solve problems. Basic questions can save time and avoid unnecessary interventions by helping to identify behaviors caused by resource problems.

The curriculum has been presented at regional and national conferences, and training workshops throughout the country and Puerto Rico.

For more information on the new curriculum and/or to schedule a workshop, please email


The “Basic Needs-Informed Service Delivery: the Myth of Self- Sufficiency” program is approved

by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval #886710898-3740)

for Social Work continuing education contact hours.


 Poverty, in itself, is sometimes the fundamental problem.


Curriculum Development

Family poverty experts at the National Diaper Bank Network and The New Haven Mental Health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership at the Yale School of Medicine combined their years of professional experience to create the Basic Needs-Informed Curriculum with funding support from the Office of Women’s Health (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

Lead authors are:

  • Joanne Goldblum, executive director and founder of the National Diaper Bank Network.
  • Dr. Megan V. Smith, director of the New Haven MOMS Partnership and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine.

Additional Information

Sample Materials

Policy / Media

Poverty is not the result of a lack of character, work ethic or bad decisions. However, poverty does lead to the lack of basic needs.


About the MOMS Partnership

The MOMS Partnership is a collaboration of agencies across the City of New Haven that work together to support the wellbeing of mothers and families living in the city. The collaboration includes: The Diaper BankAll Our KinClifford Beers Clinic, the State of Connecticut Departments of Children& Families and Departments of Social Services, the Housing Authority of New HavenNew Haven Healthy Start, the New Haven Health DepartmentNew Haven Public Schools, the National Diaper Bank Network, and the Yale School of Medicine. The Partnership’s mission is to transform service delivery systems for mothers and children through community and neighborhood-based resources dedicated to wellness; thereby strengthening generations of families to flourish and succeed. More information is available at

When diaper banks provide one of a baby’s basic needs, we help moms succeed.