There are 4.1 million parents in the United States living with a disability, many of whom have faced discrimination due to their disabilities. Even in 2016, there are 35 states that still include physical disability as grounds for termination of parental rights, even with no other evidence of abuse or neglect.
Today, loving and caring parents are dragged into long drawn out legal battles to obtain custody, visitation and even adoption rights, simply on the basis of their disabilities. This discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and harms families, including the 1 in 10 children whose parents have a disability.
That is why the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and the National Council on Disability (NCD) have joined forces to equip people living with disabilities with information about their rights as parents by creating a “Know Your Rights” toolkit.
This 16-page booklet covers issues parents and prospective parents with disabilities face every day, including adoption and foster care, reproductive health, child welfare, family law, and what is required by law from government services. It also features a wealth of resources to obtain more information, and spotlights what actions have been taken across the nation.
We will be releasing these materials on May 5th during a forum and strategy session at the White House.
We welcome all parents in the disability community to download a copy of the toolkit to empower themselves with information, raise awareness, and take local action to change the laws that still too often discriminate against parents with disabilities and tear families apart.
Know your rights, and take action.