A state bill introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) proposes giving low-income families a monthly stipend to buy diapers.
If passed, Assembly Bill 1516 would give families on welfare $80 per month for each child under 2 years old.
According to the measure, federal law prohibits families from buying diapers under CalFresh or the California Special Supplemental Food Program, listing the hygiene products under the same category as cigarettes, alcohol and pet food.
However, most free or subsidized child care facilities require parents to bring disposable diapers with their children, and without them, parents must keep kids at home.
The bill suggests this situation continues the cycle of poverty, for without child care, parents will not be able to go to work and make a livable wage to raise their family’s income.
It also warns that lack of diapers can have severe health and social consequences for babies.
Families in need already receive aid through the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program using a mixture of federal grants and state and county funds.
AB 1516 proposes that because the program would be state-mandated, any of its costs covered by local agencies would be reimbursed by the state.