Learn about AB 1516 (WPI Safety Net Policy Team) - Women's Foundation California

Safety Net Team: AB 1516

(from left to right, top to bottom) Samantha Hodges, Sacramento Housing Alliance; Alysia Cox, LIFETIME; Gemma Donofrio, California Association of Food Banks; Jenny Dominguez, River City Food Bank; La Tausha Nedd, LIFETIME.

Did you know that not having enough money to buy diapers can hinder many low-income mothers from going to work or school?

Our Women’s Policy Institute fellows Alysia, Jenny, Gemma, La Tausha and Samantha are working to solve this problem through public policy. Their solution? AB 1516—bill authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez. This bill addresses three significant challenges for low-income mothers and families whose children wear diapers:

  1. The high price of diapers;
  2. Insufficient public assistance; and
  3. The health risks that occur when a child is left in a dirty diaper.

AB 1516 would provide an $80 per month supplement to eligible children receiving public assistance. It would also create a public-private partnership fund that would receive financial contributions and be used to pay for diapers for the neediest of families.

“Some low-income mothers are faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should they pay for their electricity bill at the end of the month or buy clean diapers for their children? Many are forced to stretch their diapers—that is, keep their children in soiled diapers longer so as to use fewer of them. On more occasions than they’d like to admit, some mothers were forced to leave their children diaper-free or, instead, make unsuccessful attempts to potty train them months before they were developmentally ready. As for moms who feel that they have no choice but to reuse soiled diapers, their babies suffer from painful diaper rashes, fever, vomiting and even urinary tract infection,” said Alysia, one of the five fellows working on this bill.

“$80 is not a lot, but it can make a difference between a miserable and a happy toddler, between a mother who can go to work and one forced to stay at home with her soiled child, between a child that can attend child care and one that has to stay at home. And did you know that soiled diapers are not only a health problem for children but a serious barrier to employment and education for mothers? A mother can’t take her child to child care unless she can supply a day’s worth of diapers for her child. It’s simple: No diapers, no child care. And no child care, no employment,” said Alysia.

The mentor for this team is Vivian Huang, Asian Pacific Environmental Network.


Download the Fact Sheet for AB 1516 (PDF) >>

Read the bill language >>

2013-14 Women’s Policy Institute Teams

College and Career Access

Criminal Justice

Domestic Violence

Healthcare Sector Workforce Development

Maximum Family Grant Repeal

Safety Net Policy


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