2/3 of States Allowed to Deem a Parent Unfit Solely Based on Disability

A federal agency is warning the White House that more protections are needed to ensure the parental rights of those with disabilities.

Even as an increasing number of Americans with special needs choose to become parents, laws across the country routinely undermine their rights, according to a National Council on Disability report which was sent to President Barack Obama on Thursday.

In two-thirds of states, courts are allowed to deem a parent unfit solely based on their disability. And, disability can legally be taken into account in every state when assessing what’s in the best interest of a child, the council found.

“Even today, 22 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, parents with disabilities are the only distinct community of Americans who must struggle to retain custody of their children,” wrote Jonathan Young, chair of the National Council on Disability in a letter to the president that accompanied the report.

Currently, some 6.1 million children in the United States have parents with disabilities. They are significantly more likely than other kids to be forcibly separated from their parents, the federal agency found.

Estimates suggest that among parents with intellectual disabilities, removal rates are as high as 80 percent.

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Categories: Developmental Disabilities
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