Sep 26, 2016 (SACRAMENTO) SACRAMENTO – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) responded today to the Governor’s veto of AB 492 to provide a monthly $50 dollar diaper voucher to parents in the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program:
“Our ongoing support for working parents is essential to building an economy that works for everyone, starting with our youngest children,” said Gonzalez. “While the Governor may not be ready to tackle this issue yet, we’ll continue making the case until California’s diaper need is met.”
Beginning in 2020, AB 492 would have offered a monthly $50 supplement via Electronic Benefit Transfer system per child age 2 or younger to parents enrolled in CalWORKs who also qualify for the childcare benefit. The monthly supplement would have only been 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 a necessity for infants and toddlers, costing families $72 to $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.
AB 492 is joint authored by Assemblymember Jimmy Gomez (D-Los Angeles). Senator Joel Anderson (R-East San Diego County) is the principle coauthor, and Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Gardena) is a coauthor.