Talk Tuesday: Protecting Parents With Disabilities

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body” -Elizabeth Stone. Parenting is both a right and a privilege; it brings joy to millions of people. Watching your child grow up, witnessing the momentous milestones is an indescribable feeling; one that many yearn to have. Their sheer innocence, bright persona, and warm hearts can light up a room, and cause parents to boast with pride.
But, what happens when that joy is in jeopardy of being taken away? What if the reasoning behind the potential risk was not due to your parenting skills, but rather your disability? Unfortunately, perspective and current parents with disabilities have to ponder these questions. There have been far too many cases of children being taken away from their parents due to lack of empathy and an objective assessment of the situation.
For example, parents with physical disabilities have adaptive, productive, and safe alternative modes of parenting that enables them to be efficient caretakers. It is those modes of parenting that need to be taken into consideration by social service organizations. It needs to be understood that there is not one formula to parenting.
Did you know that as of June 2015, there were 37 states in America that permitted termination of parenting rights based on the parent’s disability? After receiving discrimination complaints from people across the United States, the federal government realized that there is a widespread problem, which needs to be investigated and addressed.
In August of 2015, the United States Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Department Of Justice (DOJ) released a document disclosing how the American’s with Disabilities Act protects parents with disabilities. They are entitled to fair and individualized treatment; guaranteeing them equal access to benefits. The partnership between the two agencies mentioned above is to help minimize a growing problem. They make it clear that they are not lowering standards for parents with disabilities, but instead, providing them with a chance for equal access.
To read the document created by the United States Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Justice, visit:

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