Legislature Takes Step Toward Improving Diaper Affordability for Low-Income Californians

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Assembly Member Gonzalez Giving a Turkey to a Low Income Resident, File Picture

Jan 13, 2015 (SACRAMENTO) – A bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) to provide a monthly $50 dollar diaper voucher to parents in the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program was approved by the Assembly Committee on Human Services today.

 

AB 492 would offer a monthly $50 supplement per child age 2 or younger to parents enrolled in CalWORKs who also qualify for the childcare benefit. The monthly supplement to would only be used on diaper purchases, helping address a major barrier to parents seeking to enter and remain in the workforce by making childcare more accessible.

 

“Diapers are an expensive necessity that present a major challenge for many working families, and this is a simple way to ease that burden,” said Gonzalez. “California has invested in programs specifically designed to help new parents get back to work, and this is a critical way to remove barriers to success in that system.”

 

Diapers are a necessity for infants and toddlers, costing families $72-$100 a month per child, creating a barrier to financial stability. Despite being critical to the health and hygiene of young children, diapers are excluded from state and federal assistance such as CalFresh, the Women Infant and Children program (WIC), and Medi-Cal. Lack of child care is a leading barrier to parents returning to the workforce, and a lack of affordable diapers is a major impediment to accessing available child care options.

 

Further, missing child care due to diaper need is also a loss for the child themselves. In addition to risking a variety of health issues early in life, they miss the opportunity to participate in early childhood education, which more than doubles a child’s likelihood to go on to college.

 

Gonzalez is also the author of AB 717, bipartisan legislation to exempt disposable diapers from sales tax.

 

AB 492 was approved by the committee on a 5-0 vote, with Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose), Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond), Ian Calderon (D-Whittier), Patty Lopez (D-San Fernando) and Mark Stone (D-Monterey Bay) voting in support. The bill will next be considered by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Jan.  21.

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