An innovative federal program inspired by research conducted by Yale, local mothers, the City of New Haven, and community groups is distributing more diapers to low-income families across the nation.
The White House announced on December 22 that its JetCares Community Diaper Program has shipped nearly five million diapers to non-profit organizations in 48 states. The program continues to expand, with private sector companies like Pampers and Huggies pledging to offer even more free diapers to food and diaper banks nationwide.
The program was inspired, in part, by research conducted in New Haven by the New Haven Mental Health Outreach for Mothers, or MOMS Partnership. The organization is comprised of academics from Yale, city officials, and community groups who work to meet the mental health needs of low-income mothers in the city
Megan Smith, DrPH, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the MOMS Partnership, has said the lack of diapers is one of the leading causes of stress for young mothers.
MOMS works with the Diaper Bank and National Diaper Bank Network to distribute diapers to low-income families.
According to statistics provided by the White House, low-income parents with infants and toddlers spend 14 percent of their income on diapers, reducing their ability to pay rent, food, and heat.
Nearly one in three low-income families report they lack the diapers they need for their babies, causing some to stretch the time between diaper changes to make their limited resources last. The pressure can lead to serious health problems for children and stress for parents, according to the White House.
Since the JetCares Community Diaper Program launched in March, some participating non-profits have doubled the number of diapers they can distribute to low-income families with the same underlying funds, according to the White House. The model has proven sustainable for the participating private sector companies
Read President Barack Obama's take on the need to close the diaper gap here.