TODAY IS ‘DIAPER NEED AWARENESS DAY’ IN STATE; ‘DIAPER ACT’ MYTHS AND TRUTHS

Gov. Dannel Malloy has declared Thursday, October 27, 2011, as “Diaper Need Awareness Day” in Connecticut. There is a rally and panel discussion of the issue in New Haven. The idea is to call attention to the problem of low-income couple or women struggling to pay for diapers which can run $100 a week. Malloy’s declaration is getting national attention. Closer to home, the wonderful Hartford Courant columnist Susan Campbell gets its right.

The awareness day comes after Connecticut US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd) introduced the “DAIPER Act.” The bill—if you actually read it—is a seemingly innocuous piece of legislation. However, it’s been seized upon by right-wing nut bars who are spewing so much disinformation and complete nonsense about what the bill does that I felt compelled to write a “Myths & Facts” posting about it.

The nonsense, I am hoping, comes largely from pure ignorance or the unwillingness to actually read the bill. However it’s clear that some national conservatives (Rush Limbaugh) and local media outlets (the Dishonest Duo of John Rowland and Wil Marotti on WTIC-AM radio) are fully aware of what the bill does and doesn’t do but put out their disinformation (yes, you can read that as lies) anyway. So here we go:

Myth: The DIAPER Act establishes new federal program.
Fact: The bill simply amends the 1990 Child Care and Development Block Grant law of 1990.

Myth: Under DIAPER, more federal funds and taxpayers’ money will be spent providing free diapers to poor mothers or mothers on Welfare.
Fact: The money involved in DIAPER has already been allocated. DIAPER simply gives more leeway on how to spend money already granted to the states. The bill simply adds diapers and diapering supplies to the list of things on which block grant money can be spent. Not one dime of new funding is allocated under DIAPER. In fact, the actual funds involved in DIAPER where allocated under the 1996 welfare reform which interestingly, was a key part of the Republicans’ and conservatives’ Contract with America.

Myth: If a mother needs free diapers, she can’t afford to put her child in daycare anyway. (This myth is in response to the fact that daycare facilities require the children to be sent to them in diapers as well as provide extra ones).
Fact: Many mothers avail themselves of federally subsidized daycares. Many of them have jobs but often have to weigh whether working is worth it since most of their pay is sucked up by daycare. If conservatives are really interested in “private-sector jobs,” they would welcome a bill that would free up mothers to work.

Myth: This is quite literally, the epitome of the “cradle to grave” Nanny State.
Fact: The DIAPER Act gives mothers a chance to provide their babies with a good head start on their development—allowing the use of already-allocated funds to be used for diapers enables the children to go to daycare or allows a struggling mother to stay home and have diapers. Both can provide good, early, childhood development.