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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: April 26, 2017 02:55 PM
From: Representative Carol Hill-Evans
To: All House members
Subject: Community Diaper and Incontinence Act
Access to a reliable supply of clean diapers is a necessity for the health and wellbeing of Pennsylvania's children and incontinent adults. That is why, in the near future, I will introduce legislation to further address the growing diaper supply gap that exists across our Commonwealth. Specifically, the bill would establish the Community Diaper and Incontinence Act -- a grant program to improve, enhance and expand access to clean diapers for infants, children and incontinent adults.

According to the National Diaper Bank Network, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every baby in the United States can be clean, healthy and dry, there is a growing diaper gap in communities across the nation – with many families struggling to provide new and clean diapers. In fact, one in every three mothers finds it difficult to provide diapers for their children. And for seniors on fixed incomes, incontinence products could cost as much as $1,000 a year.

With little or no access to clean and dry diapers, children and incontinent adults could spend a day or longer in one diaper, leading to significant potential health risks. And since a clean supply of diapers are often a requirement for participation in childcare services like daycare, the growing diaper gap for working families could severally impact their ability to hold a job.

To compound the issue, most public resources such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), do not allow families to purchase diapers with the money provided through these programs. That is why diaper banks, and many other community organizations across the Commonwealth, are doing their part to help with this epidemic by hosting diaper donation drives, which are critical in providing these essential materials to families in need, and raising awareness about the real implications of a widening diaper supply gap.

But resources are limited for these organizations. To further aid in their efforts to keep our kids and incontinent adults clean, healthy and dry, my bill would provide grants to eligible organizations to help offset the costs associated with purchasing, warehousing, storing and distributing these products, as well as with outreach programs, volunteer training and fundraising assistance. The bill would also establish the Community Diaper and Incontinence Products Grant Fund within the State Treasury for all appropriations, contributions and alternative funding methods for the grant program.

The Commonwealth has a compelling interest in protecting infants, children and incontinent adults from health problems and other issues associated with a lack of clean diapers. Through this legislation, we would have the opportunity to help those organizations already helping people in need to expand, enhance and improve their efforts to reduce the diaper supply gap in Pennsylvania.

I hope you will join me in cosponsoring this legislation. Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Introduced as HB1815