President Obama’s budget has called for $10 million to test effective ways to get diapers to families in need and document the health improvements that result.
Yes, you read it correctly – this is no joke. Since diapers are a necessity, and there is currently no federal assistance for purchasing diapers, (unlike other essentials like food or health insurance) the White House is coming to the rescue. An announcement by Cecilia Muñoz on the White House website provides all the details. Muñoz is an Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
Muñoz states that many parents can have bulk diaper orders delivered right to their doorstep at a lower cost, but this luxury isn’t available to all Americans, and “the consequences of that divide are severe.” Nearly 1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers for their babies, and parents must often make the difficult choice between diapers for their babies or paying for food, rent or utilities, she claims.
This can lead to serious health problems for babies and parents. Young children can end up hospitalized with problems like urinary tract or staph infections. In the worst case, over time these kinds of stressors can contribute to the incidence of abuse and neglect of young children.
But it gets worse…
These choices become even more pressing because the lowest-income quintile of families with infants pay 14 percent of their income for diapers alone – an average of $936 for diapers per child each year, while many higher income families pay less than half that amount. These struggling families may not have access to transportation to the big box store, the credit or capital to buy in bulk at cheaper prices, or the access to internet or ability to receive packages required for online subscription services. The technology that makes life easier for so many of us just doesn’t provide the necessary supports for these families.
Since diapers are ESSENTIAL, the Obama administration believes there should be a government program to step in and offer assistance.
There is also no federal assistance for purchasing diapers, unlike other essentials like food or health insurance. Programs like WIC, SNAP, Medicaid help provide parents with nutritious foods and the supports they and their babies need to stay healthy, and the President’s budget has called for $10 million to test effective ways to get diapers to families in need and document the health improvements that result. But unless Congress acts, we don’t have a program to help struggling families buy diapers for their children.
The White House is taking Action
Addressing the high cost of diapers for low-income families can help to take one more burden off those families as they strive to reach the middle class, and give the next generation the great start in life that all kids deserve.
(Read more at WhiteHouse.gov)
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