How one NJ county hopes to fight child abuse with a diaper drive
Camden County officials are looking to help families that are struggling financially during the novel coronavirus pandemic, by holding a diaper drive throughout the month of September.
Acting Prosecutor Jill Mayer said 12 police departments are taking part in the drive — as listed on the prosecutor's website — but she made it clear that it's not because only 12 wanted to participate. All of them did, she said, but she preferred to start off with a handful of departments to see how the drive goes.
If all goes well, expect more to join in soon.
When Mayer was appointed acting prosecutor of Camden County last October, she wanted to begin building relationships with community leaders, she said. One leader she met was Sister Helen Cole, administrative director of Guadalupe Family Services in Camden. She said Cole talked about how there is a link between the financial strain of buying diapers and instances of child abuse.
Mayor said that really resonated with her — and seemed like a problem that was both preventable and easy to address.
The link between child abuse and a lack of money for diapers has sort of a domino effect, Mayer said. Many child care centers often won't take children unless parents supply the diapers. A parent who can't get daycare may not be able to work. And problems spiral from there.
Mayer said when parents have babies, people tend to rally around them in the beginning stages, supporting them with donations and diapers. But as time goes on, that support system dips off — especially around the time of potty training. She said for this diaper drive, diapers sizes 4, 5, 6 and pull-ups are desperately needed, as are baby wipes.
All donations can be dropped off between now and Sept. 27 at any police participating police department (though departments that aren't formally participating will accept them as well).
Each department will have a contactless, bright purple donation box inside its lobby. Mayer said given the pandemic, the county prefers diapers in unopened boxes.
If the diaper drive is successful at the end of September, Mayer said she plans to do another one.