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Diapers address basic care need in children, leading to healthier and more economically stable adults

Growing research shows when a child’s basic needs are met, including the need for diapers, there are long term improvements in health and economic outcomes.
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 9:29 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2022 at 8:39 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Growing research shows when a child’s basic needs are met, including the need for diapers, there are long term improvements in health and economic outcomes in adulthood.

Jessica Pac, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Social Work, said diapers address a basic need because they enable kids to stay in childcare.

“And when kids can stay in childcare, then families can work, and when families can work, that obviously means that they can, you know, have higher rates of income, and they can use that money in ways that can also better benefit kids,” Pac said.

Most public and private childcare providers require families provide their own disposable diapers each day.

In her studies, as well as studies across the world, Pac has found a relationship between basic childhood needs being met and the increase in parental investments and lower stress.

She said when families have the burden of paying for diapers taken care of, they can invest more of their money into the child, for example, healthier diets and better education.

“Where investments in early childhood promote investments later on. So, kids that have more investments, as it as infants might have higher rates of health for examples. And as a result, they might miss fewer days of school,” Pac said, “And because of those things working together, they’re better able to learn they have improved learning ability, but then they also have improved health and these things combined together to increase these outcomes later in life.”

The cost of diapers also continues to increase, while minimum wage stays the same. Pac said the official data for 2021 has not come in yet but “one measure that year over year difference in January 2021 relative to 2022 was up 14% for the price of diapers.”

This is why Pac continues to study programs and policies that provide families in need with additional income to cover basic needs such as diapers, since diapers are not covered by any other social safety net program.

In the meantime, here’s how you can help families in need; until Thursday February 24th, you can donate diapers at select locations around Dane County or you can donate online at nbc15.com/diapers. But if you wait until Thursday, you can really make your donation count. Generous sponsors are matching up to $25,000 that day.

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