Congressman Keith Ellison

Representing the 5th District of Minnesota

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Ellison, DeLauro Introduce Legislation to Provide Diaper Assistance

Nov 18, 2015
Press Release
Washington – Earlier today, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), together with Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), 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 working families. 
 
Today, 1 in 3 families struggle to provide diapers for their children. Working families often 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 skip work in order to care for their infant or toddler. While many communities have established Diaper Banks, these organizations are unable to meet the demand for diapers and supplies. It is time diapers are treated as a necessity for the health of every child. 
 
“Families should not have to decide between diapers, food, or rent,” said Rep. Ellison. “With millions of families struggling to provide diapers for their children, it’s time we recognize that families are being forced to make tough decisions that affect their child’s health. We all benefit when children are healthy, and families are not worried about how they will care for their infant or toddler.
 
“Diapers are a basic need for parents of young children,” said Rep. DeLauro. “No parents should have to choose between buying diapers for their child or buying groceries. Diapers are expensive, but necessary, to keep children healthy and in daycare, giving their parents the freedom they need to work. This bill is a simple, straight-forward proposal to change the current law to allow diapers and diapering supplies to be provided to families in need.”
 
“This bill will have a major impact on the health of infants and toddlers,” said Kate Bonestroo, the Executive Director of the Diaper Drive in Minnesota. “It will be life changing for families, impacting physical and emotional health, as well as economic stability.”
 
Additional co-sponsors include: Rep. Raul Grijálva, Rep. Scott Peters, Rep. Tony Cárdenas, Rep. Andre Carson, Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Grace Meng, Rep. Yvette Clarke, Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Jerry Nadler, Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, Rep. John Conyers Jr., Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham , Rep. Judy Chu, Rep. Donna Edwards.
 
Organizations Supporting the Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act of 2015 : First Focus Campaign for Children, National Women’s Law Center, The National Diaper Bank Network, The Minnesota Diaper Drive, and The Diaper Bank in Connecticut.