ABC NEWS: Social Worker is “Person of the Week”

The ABC News edition of “Person of the Week” for July 11th featured Joanne Goldblum, LCSW. She was honored for her work founding The Diaper Bank. View Video:

While working as a social worker in New Haven, Conn., Joanne Goldblum had an alarming realization.

“I guess I’m a little bit singled-minded,” she said. “And I just got a little bit crazy about this idea that diapers are really a basic need. And somehow in our society we’ve turned them into a luxury that certain people can’t afford.”

Not only are diapers an expensive necessity, people on government assistance can’t use that help to buy them.

“I was really horrified to hear that food stamps put diapers on a list with alcohol, cigarettes and pet food for things that can’t be purchased,” she said of her inspiration to do something about the problem.


  1. I had my undergrad studies as BSSW in the Phils. and social work focuses on the goal of helping the individual or community be self sufficient and independent, better yet – a contributing member of the society. When I came to USA I realized that social work is more on “dole out” – the welfare system is soso very generous! and it is an insult that when i needed to see a doctor, i have to pay and those who dont pay taxes, dont pay anything either…and they DEMAND for services like they are more privileged than the rest of the working class.

  2. Most Americans have no clue about the time and money that goes into a social work education. To make matters worst a psychologist who is not licensed (masters level) is viewed as the mental health provider in particularly in the schoo systems.

    More efforts need to be made to educate the public that social workers are mental health providers and not case workers.

    Opinions, thoughts?

  3. This issue really bothers me, due to the fact that i am going to school to become a social worker, issues like this is why i have the love and passion of helping individuals including, children, adults and others. like trisha livingston said diapers are as needed as food. the way of lice is hard because of things like this prices of needs being higher that prices of materialist things that don’t really matter.

  4. While I recognize that tax-payers overall do not want the responsibility to assist with the cost of diapers, please recognize that we all are apart of that village and that the diapers are not just for the babies; many, many older people have to wear diapers. The cost is covered under SSI but not QMB Medicaid and thus a person whose income is only about $100 more a month, in Texas, must pay for these supplies. SSI also receives significant food stamps and QMB does not, only $10 for most in Texas. These elderly people of all races are trying to live under $800 a month. The cost of diapers is significant and a must. Local organizations can no longer assist due to the cost and the demand. There is no easier answer. Tax-payers bear the brunt in many ways and I am not advocating for a full ride; there are different issues in regard to the ‘baby situation’ and I understand this, but the babies did not ask to be born and they are vulnerable–need care. The two most vulnerable ages–babies and elderly–are in need of the same service. Take an inventory of your thoughts. Reach out and assist when you can. Make a difference, I know your neighbor is in need, be that a baby or an elderly person.

  5. Mr. Esterly makes an excellent point. Our job as Social Workers is not to increase dependence on tax-payer funded handouts, but to teach self-sufficiency. People unwisely have babies they can’t afford when they lack the social skills, education and practical skills to provide for themselves and those babies. We must help them grow in themselves to break the horrible, demeaning cycle of dependence.

    Kudos to ABC for identifying this caring Social Worker as Person of the Week.

  6. Some Americans have not had the privilege, opportunity, or luxury of procreating children. Personally, my life has been too busy helping others who have health and welfare needs, to take time for the jolly of making babies. Many view having babies as their burdens, while others see procreation as a wonderful gift of life and a privilege. It is those who mindlessly procreate without planning, who see their infants’ needs as burdens. Thus, providing their diapers is burdonsome. Is it the responsibilty of the village to provide parent(s) with the means to support the children they have chosen to have? I suggest that it is the village’s responsibilty only in the cases of rape and nonconsenting incest. Now, it sure would be nice if the village would pay for my elderly mother’s diapers. The premise is that new additions to the populace are more needy than the aged, who have already contributed much to the village.

  7. Carmelo I would suggest you contact the socialwork dept at your local VA hospital or clinic or VET center re support groups for the mother of her lost soldier- they should have the resoources or contacts to assist you

  8. This issue has bothered me throughout my social work career, as well. My suggestion would be for the WIC (women, infant, children) program to issue stamps for diapers just as they issue them for formula and baby food.

  9. I am not surprise gov’t does not provide diapers to be part of welfare system. I am undergradate student majoring in social work, I understand how fraustating it can be for parents to provide even with public assistance programs just to make ends-meet on top of that diapers are needed for infants no public assistance there. “I am a mother of 3; 8 year old, 7 year old, and one on its way 09/01/2008; I know diapers are expensive. It only take one person to speak out, but it will take an ‘army’ to make change.”

  10. Carmelo A. Colon

    Hi, everyone. I have been working with an Hispanic woman who lost her son in the Iraq War in 2003, and continues to have constant major depression and complicated mouning around her loss., particularly as the 5th. anniversary approaches. She wishes that there could be a support group that she could attend to share her feelings with others similarly afftected. Is there anyone out there that is aware of such a support group either in Spanish or English to help such families cope with such a devastating lost. Please E-mail me back with any leads for North Jersey or the NYC Metropolitan area.

  11. Awesome! May God continue to bless you and your efforts!

  12. Well, that’s a wonderful start! Can this same group institute the Diaper Bank for low-income Older Adults who have serious need but no money for them in their meager budgets?

  13. I too am horrified, diapers are not a luxury for anyone. If some parents had to walk miles to wash them at the laundry we’d have a lot more very sick babies. Diapers are as essential as food, as is pet food. These are survival basics, time to wake up and smell the coffee.

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