As budget negotiations drag on, funding for huge state programs and agencies hangs in the balance. There's also uncertainly at small nonprofits that depend on some state money. At a diaper bank for low-income families, it's having a direct impact on the children they serve.
The Diaper Bank distributes diapers to 62 different agencies in New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford. They also serve people directly who stop by in emergencies, like Phoenix Rumley.
"I'm a mother of six, and my baby is 4 years old. So they've been helping me for four years now, and it's been really a great help."
Rumley works as a residential supervisor at a New Haven shelter, but she says she can't afford the expensive Pull-up training pants on her own.
"Without it, I don't know know I would do."
Diapers can cost families 100 dollars a month, and food stamps don't cover them.
Governor Rell's budget eliminates the $150,000 for the program. That's a third of the diaper bank's funding. Democrats restored the spending in their budget.
Operations director Janet Alfano says the diaper bank's been getting more calls, but because they don't know what to expect in the state budget, they're giving each family fewer diapers. Now, instead of 100 diapers a month, it's down to 50.
And Alfano says that doesn't mean families are buying more diapers on their own. They're stretching what they have.
"We've heard about, and in fact have seen parents do reuse diapers, hang them out to dry, and put them back on their child, or leave their child in diapers for a very, very long time, where it becomes unhealthy for them."
That can mean more diaper rashes and skin irritations, and higher risk of infections or even hepatitis.
The Diaper Bank received state money for the first time two years ago, when Connecticut was the first state to fund a free diaper program.