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Diaper Connections Program Launching With Madonna Place

March 14, 2023

Diapers are so much more than a way to manage a baby’s peeing and pooping. More than 30% of families in Connecticut have difficulty affording a sufficient supply of diapers for their children. Diaper need affects a family’s ability to go to work and school and threatens the health of a family by increasing the likelihood of maternal depression, parental stress, and diaper rash in infants and children. Diapers are expensive. Not having an adequate supply of diapers can lead to health issues, emergency department visits, even postpartum depression. Keeping a diaper on too long or not having the proper hygiene for the baby because of a lack of diapers can lead to urinary tract infections, hepatitis, eczema, and serious diaper rash. Feeling that they can’t best provide for their baby can lead to depression and anxiety. Also, many daycares require parents to provide their own diapers, and if they can’t, that means lost work time. In fact, more than half (56%) of parents using child care to go to work have missed work because of an inadequate supply of diapers. Parents unable to access child care because of a lack of diapers missed work or school on average 4 days per month. In addition, incidences of diaper rash declined 33% among children whose families received supplies of clean diapers, plus babies experienced 77% fewer days of diaper rash. In response to this need, the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) partnered with the Diaper Bank of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Housing to address diaper insecurity and diaper need through a new statewide program called Diaper Connections. Funding comes from the Community Development Block Grant program and is administered through the Connecticut Department of Housing. It uses 80% or less of area median income as a guideline for eligibility. Backus Hospital has recently partnered with Madonna Place. Under the program, each enrolled child receives 100 diapers per month. The program launched last November in Windham. The Windham Women’s Health Center and the Healthy Beginnings program work in conjunction with Willi Wellness, Windham Head Start and other community organizations. In Windham, Willi Wellness provided 3,800 diapers to families in November and December. They are working directly with Windham Public Schools Head Start program and have signed up 52 families in addition to those applications they have received from the Windham Women’s Health Center. Between November and February, the Women’s Health Center at Windham Hospital distributed 180 packages of diapers to 45 patient families. One patient who enrolled in the program said, “Oh my gosh, this is so helpful! And it's so fun, because seeing the tiny diapers makes having a baby feel so much more real!" Erin Bane, the Windham Women's Health Center’s certified nurse midwife, said “Parents are so surprised by and grateful for the diapers. Oftentimes in healthcare, we give a lot of advice and support that we know is important, but not tangibly helpful. The diapers are filling a practical need, and our office feels like the right and logical place to establish delivery of this resource.”