How can the government support families with diaper needs?

Evaluating a diaper distribution demonstration program

Woman donates diapers during clothing drive.


Diapers are an essential resource for families with young children, yet unmet diaper need is a widespread material hardship. Addressing diaper need has potential implications for a wide range of outcomes related to child, caregiver, family, and community well-being.

To help address diaper need and increase economic security, the Office of Community Services (OCS), in partnership with the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Research (OPRE) in the Administration for Children and Families, recently launched the Diaper Distribution Demonstration and Research Pilot (DDDRP). The DDDRP Evaluation will collect information on the implementation of the new DDDRP grant program and lay the groundwork for a rigorous future impact evaluation.


Westat brings decades of experience evaluating programs designed to increase the economic security of families to this 5-year, multisite evaluation. Our partner, Public Profit, is one of the few organizations to have evaluated diaper distribution programs specifically, bringing practical lessons to inform the evaluation. Our consultant, Dr. Jennifer Randles, conducts seminal research on how families experience diaper need.

Westat will conduct an implementation study of 14 DDDRP grantees employing innovative, participatory, and culturally relevant methods appropriate for diverse populations and in a manner that produces early and regular findings to help OCS share information about this important and high-profile initiative and its rollout.

Key innovations include:

  • Gathering input and feedback from a panel of caregivers who have experienced diaper scarcity
  • Identifying when and how to measure outcomes in this new area of research
  • Grounding the study in culturally responsive and equitable evaluation


The DDDRP Evaluation will inform the administration of this new program and lay the groundwork for a future impact evaluation. Specifically, we will contribute objective and independent information of the activities, barriers and facilitators, outputs, and outcomes associated with diaper distribution programs to this burgeoning field of knowledge. We expect to establish time frames for theoretical outcomes to ensure the future impact evaluation is able to accurately track and measure potential program impacts of families, caregivers, and children.

Throughout the study period Westat will develop and disseminate findings that are visually appealing and informative, including fact sheets, infographics, and briefs.

Focus Areas

Social Services


Evaluation Impact Evaluation


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