WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) are building on their work to assist families who are struggling to afford diapers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their bipartisan bill, the
COVID-19 Diaper Assistance Act,
would provide $200 million in additional funds through the Social Services Block Grant program for diaper assistance. Prior to the pandemic, nonprofit diaper bank distribution only met 5-6 percent of diaper need. Since the start of COVID–19, many diaper banks around the country have experienced triple the increase in demand for diapers due to the pandemic and economic shutdown. Nonprofits alone cannot fully address this public health crisis that impacts one in three families in the United States.
“Having access to clean diapers is a basic need for families that can’t be overlooked during this pandemic. Amidst COVID-19, diaper banks in Iowa and across the country have faced serious challenges, which is why this bipartisan measure with Senator Chris Murphy is so important. Iowa moms and dads shouldn’t have to worry about having access to clean diapers; this bipartisan bill will go a long way in helping address those challenges,” said Senator Ernst.
“We often don’t think about the hidden costs of parenting. Even before the pandemic, diapers were expensive and families often struggle to buy this basic necessity for their kids; imagine how much worse that is now,” said Senator Murphy. “The cost of diapers can have adverse health consequences for infants and small children. I’m proud to join my colleague Senator Ernst in introducing this much needed legislation to help nonprofit diaper banks provide for parents in need.”
"Record levels of unemployment and deep cuts to working hours have left millions of families in a deep economic recession, unable to secure basic necessities such as diapers. Unfortunately, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, one in three families did not have the diapers they needed to keep their child clean, dry, and healthy, and now that number is larger than ever. Diaper banks across the country have stretched limited resources to address skyrocketing need for diapers in their communities. This critically needed legislation will provide long-overdue resources to ensure that millions of families across the country will have access to the diapers they need to keep their children healthy and thriving,” said Joanne Samuel Goldblum, CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network.
Text of the legislation is available here.
Last May, Senators Ernst and Murphy urged the Senate to support low-income families and front-line workers who are in critical need of diaper assistance to provide for the health, safety, and economic security of their children.
In July, Senator Ernst joined Iowans at the Davenport Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) office to help distribute diapers to Iowans as part of a Hiney Heroes of the Quad Cities’ drive-through diaper bank.