This bill would amend CalWORKs rules to add a $50 voucher for diapers for each child two years of age or younger to the aid given to families who already qualify for supportive services.
AAP Positional Letter
August 25, 2016
The Honorable Jerry Brown
Governor of California
State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: AB 492 (Gonzalez) CalWORKs: welfare-to-work: supportive services
AAP-CA Position: Support
Dear Governor Brown:
The American Academy of Pediatrics, California (AAP-CA) representing 5,000 California pediatricians strongly supports AB 492 (Gonzalez). AB 492 would provide monthly access to diapers for families in the CalWORKs Welfare-to-Work program by amending rules to add a $50 voucher for diapers for each child two years of age or younger who already qualify for supportive services.
According to the National AAP, 30% of mothers report struggling with access to diapers for their infants with numbers even higher among the Latino and African-American communities. Low-income parents in school or struggling with employment security are especially impacted by diaper costs since none of the existing social assistance programs for food and health provide specific support for families in need of diapers.
An insufficient supply of diapers can result in a parent changing their child’s diaper less often than is healthy for the child. Painful diaper rash, skin infection, blisters and urinary tract infections are common outcomes leading to a doctor’s office or emergency department visit that can be costly for these families and the state. Because diaper need disproportionately impacts low-income families, costs related to these health concerns are often covered through taxpayer-funded health programs like Medi-Cal. Infant and toddler child care sites generally require parents to provide their child with an adequate supply of diapers. By addressing this need, AB 492 would allow families with limited means to access to early education.
An inadequate supply of diapers for their child is stressful for parents, as indicated by a Yale 2013 report:
“Although a majority of studies have examined family socioeconomic status as income and educational and employment status, emerging research suggests that indicators of material hardship are increasingly important to child health. This study supports this premise with the suggestion that an adequate supply of diapers may prove a tangible way of reducing parenting stress, a critical factor influencing child health and development.”
AB 492 will reduce cost barriers to California families most in need of affordable access to a basic commodity that is vital for the healthy development of children. Pediatricians, therefore, respectfully urge you to sign AB 492 and thank you for your public service and leadership on behalf of the health and well-being of children, youth, and families in California.
Chief Executive Officer
American Academy of Pediatrics, California
CC: Stuart Cohen, AAP-CA Chair; Lydia Bourne, AAP-CA Legislative Advocate; AAP-CA Leadership