NATIONAL DIAPER BANK NETWORK NEWS

National Diaper Bank Policy Update

December 02, 2017

After a brief hiatus (and tryptophan-induced nap), the NDBN Policy Update is back. The period following an election is typically a time for planning for the next session. That is certainly true in this case as we watch to see how the new administration and Congress plan their transisitions.  Even so, there is excitement at the state level in New Jersey, DC, and possibly Texas and Florida.

Federal Activity

The 114th Congressional session is currently in its "lame duck" period, where Congress is busy wrapping up old business in preparation for a new session with a new Congress and a new President. It is unlikely that H.R. 4055 or S.3070 will be included in the limited number of bills that will be voted on during this period of frantic activity. Even so, we have gained a new supporter, Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee for a total of 57 co-sponsors of H.R. 4055. Although it is unlikely that HR 4055 will pass in this session, we have begun discussing options for introducing diaper need-related legislation in the next session with congressional staff. Stay posted!

State Activity

The federal goverment may be preparing to finish old business, but some states are considering diaper- and other hygiene product-access as new business for the year ahead.

New Jersey Legislature's Women and Children Committee took up consideration of three diaper related matters: a resolution to recognized September 25--October 1, 2017 as Diaper Need Awareness Week 2017; a resolution to signal their support of the Hygiene Assistance for Families and Toddlers Act (H.R. 4055 in the U.S. House of Representatives); and a bill to provide a $50 monthly voucher for diapers to children under 1 year old enrolled in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. All three resolutions/bills were voted out of the committee with recommendation to forward to the full legislature.

The District of Columbia Council voted to approve a bill to exempt diapers and feminine hygiene products from the District's sales tax. The mayor has indicated her willingness to sign the legislation (by law she must approve or deny by December 6), but due to the unique nature of DC's position as the site of the U.S. Capitol, the bill will require the approval of the U.S. Congress.

The Texas state legislature is considering several bills to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. SB 129, SB 162, and HB 219 would all exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax, while HB 55 and HB 232 would include feminine hygiene products for exemption during the state's sales tax holiday. The general session just started, so there's still time to write to the legislators and ask them to include diapers in those bills. 

In Florida, Representative Katie Edwards has introduced HB 63 to exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. The 2017 General Session has only just begun, so there is still time to write to Rep. Edwards or other Florida legislators to ask them to add diapers to the bill.

Family Caps on TANF. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is a federal block grant program that is administered by the states. As with such programs, administration varies widely. Several states include a Family Cap which limits the amount of assistance a family can receive to the size of the family when they first go on assistance, and does not provide any additional funding should the family grow with a new baby. When states first implemented TANF, many put these caps in place on the theory that they would reduce subsequent pregnancy for families on assistance. In reality, they have no effect on pregnancy rates, but do adversely affect families with young children who need help to provide for them. Currently, caps are still in place in Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Massachussetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.   If you would like to get involved in this effort in your state, contact Alison.

Reframing Social Issues Before, During and After an Election  Our friends at The National Human Services Assembly, along with Frameworks, have put together a webinar about how to talk about your issues with candidates and elected leaders on both sides of the aisle. You can check it out here. 

Being a Successful Advocate  Want to get more involved in diaper advocacy, but not sure how to do so? Here are some tips on being a successful advocate from Good, the online magazine.  And be sure to contact NDBN for help with talking points, facts and figures, and everything you need to advocate to end diaper need in your city, county, or state.

Inequality can cause rashes and urinary tract infections

June 17, 2016

Mothers would take the diapers off, dump out the poop, and put the diapers back on. They would air-dry the diapers. They’d let their kids sit in wet diapers for longer than they should—a practice that can lead to UTIs and other infections. Other moms have reported potty training infants who are less than a year old—at least six months earlier than is recommended—in order to save money.

Because, of course, food stamps and WIC don’t cover diapers, and a Democratic bill to allow that hasn’t gone anywhere, because congressional Republicans. And, as President Obama recently noted, this doesn’t just hurt the babies:

    Access to clean diapers isn’t just important for a child’s health and safety. Research has shown that mothers who are unable to afford diapers for their babies are more likely to suffer from maternal depression and mental health issues.

Samantha Bee recently delved into the issue, and the arguments against poor babies getting clean diapers:

One important point Bee raises is echoed by The Diaper Bank:

    The vast majority of licensed day care centers do not accept cloth diapers, and require parents and caregivers to provide a steady supply of disposable diapers.

    Most people living in poverty do not have affordable access to washing facilities. Furthermore, most coin-operated laundromats do not allow customers to wash cloth diapers for health and sanitary reasons.

So your “get a job” talking point and your “use cloth diapers” talking point won’t go anywhere. You might also want to give some serious thought to your “I can get a year’s worth of diapers for a lot less than $900 by going to Costco/doing a ‘subscribe and save’ at Amazon” talking point, because, as the National Diaper Bank Network points out:

    Without transportation, buying diapers at a convenience store rather than a large “big box” store can significantly increase the monthly cost of diapers.

(And without a credit card and a steady supply of money, you can’t subscribe and save at Amazon.)

I’d love it if my kid would quit soiling diapers before I’ve even finished putting them on him, but I’d love it even more if 30 percent of American women didn’t have to decide how exactly to keep their kids in dirty diapers for longer than is healthy. Diaper banks, which distribute diapers to families that need them, are a wonderful and important thing in the system we currently have. But the system needs changing so that diaper banks aren’t needed.

Laura Clawson is the Labor editor at Daily Kos Labor, and a contributing editor at Daily Kos.


 

Diapers Need Awareness - Building awareness and closing the diaper gap

June 17, 2016

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.

 

The Diaper Divide

March 10, 2016

I remember being astounded at the rate at which my two girls used diapers when they were born. I’d drive out to the big box store and buy case after case, knowing I’d be back soon. Today, many parents can have bulk orders delivered directly to their doorsteps with the diapers their child needs, when they need them – at a lower cost than ever before. Technology and the new economy have given us access to necessities like diapers at just the click of a button.  <Read More>

Surge Pricing for Diapers

March 10, 2016

Tomorrow, the President will speak at the SxSW Interactive Festival about civic engagement and technology in the 21st century, calling on all Americans to apply their talents and new technologies to address our country’s biggest challenges. Because you don’t need to move to Washington, or work for the government, to strengthen our nation. All of us can answer <read more>

Federal Call-To-Action For Companies To Help Combat Diaper Need

March 09, 2016

The National Diaper Bank Network (NDCN) announces that the White House is issuing a call-to-action to companies requesting that they help identify how to use technology to tackle some of our country’s toughest public policy challenges.  It’s part of a conversation about civic engagement in the 21st century that the President is leading during his trip to South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin.   

Among the issues included in the call-to-action is how companies can help combat diaper need.  NDCN expects the announcement to include the following two examples of how the same skills businesses use in the digital world can be applied to make a positive impact in society.  

  • Click and donate diapers.
    NDBN founding sponsor Huggies® is announcing that it will activate its consumer network by asking them to “click” and donate Huggies Rewards points to NDBN. For every diaper consumers donate through Huggies Rewards during the next month, Huggies will match those diaper donations up to 1 million diapers! This can potentially generate an additional 2 million diapers given for free to NDBN. Huggies is also increasing its long-standing annual donation of 20 million diapers to NDBN with an additional 2 million diapers this year. All combined that could mean 24 million diapers for NDBN-members in 2016!

  • Click and buy cost-effective diapers.
    Jet.com is launching a Community Diaper Program. The new initiative provides qualified nonprofit organizations that serve families in need with the opportunity to click and buy diapers for infants and toddlers at a reduced price beginning in late April 2016. Jet.com is expected to offer an expedited application process to NDBN members that maintain independent 501(c)3 status. More details on the program will follow in the coming weeks. 

 

From Director of Programs National Diaper Bank Network

November 13, 2015

 

We are very excited to share that Diaper Need has reached Capitol Hill! Earlier today, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced the Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act of 2015 (H.R. 4055), which would create a demonstration project to allow states to provide diapers or a diaper subsidy for low-income and <more>
 

Cost of diapers a big problem for poor moms

We mothers spend a lot of time saying, "I love you." We don't always use words: it can be wrapping that squeaky-clean baby in a fluffy towel or warming up cider for the kid who comes in wet and cold after playing in the snow. (Click Button below to see entire article)

 

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