(WTNH) — The state announced a new partnership between local hospitals and the Diaper Bank of Connecticut to address the growing need for diapers for Connecticut families Tuesday.

Statistics show more than one-third of families with young children in the state struggle to afford diapers, according to the Diaper Bank of Connecticut. Children without clean diapers are at a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections, diaper dermatitis and diaper rashes.

Parents with diaper insecurity may be forced to miss work, as childcare facilities can require a full week’s supply of diapers for students to attend.

According to the Diaper Bank of Connecticut, the inability to afford diapers is often a common cause of maternal depression and stress. Children of stressed or depressed parents are at a higher risk for developing social, emotional and behavioral problems.

The state announced the launch of a new diaper distribution network called Diaper Connections with the Diaper Bank of Connecticut, the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) and the Connecticut Department of Housing (DOH).

“Clinics and hospitals are the perfect places to screen families for diaper insecurity so we can bridge the diaper need gap. This new statewide Diaper Connections program will serve all communities to immediately make a difference in the lives of families in real-time with diaper supplies,” said Khadija Poitras-Rhea, co-chair of CHA’s Diaper Connections steering group.

The state department of housing provided $500,000 to fund and leverage additional resources to start the program. Diaper Connections will distribute diapers through local hospitals and established hospital partners, to ensure a diaper supply is available each month to families in need.

The aim of the program is to improve health and to help prevent family problems resulting from diaper insecurity.

Parents are caregivers can check to see if they are eligible for free diapers by contacting the hospital where they receive care or with the Diaper Bank of Connecticut. The eligibility is based on two screening questions regarding household income or current participation in a safety net program such as Medicaid.

For more information on the Diaper Connections program, visit the website for the Diaper Bank of Connecticut.