the advocacy monitor

Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Protecting the Rights of Parents with Disabilities

Approved by the NCIL membership July, 2007

WHEREAS, in order to ensure the full inclusion of people with disabilities into society, it is necessary to protect the fundamental right of people with disabilities to reproduce and to raise their children; and

WHEREAS, NCIL believes it is not a person’s disability that inhibits a person’s capacity to provide a stable and loving home for children, rather it is a lack of disability related supports for a parent with a disability that can result in an unstable home environment; and 

WHEREAS, like parents without disabilities, parents with disabilities generally provide excellent care and loving homes for their children with the assistance of family, friends, neighbors and others; and

WHEREAS, factors that should be considered in child custody cases include abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc., regardless of whether the parent has a disability; and

WHEREAS, NCIL believes that the majority of child custody laws in this country as written present an unrealistic view of parents with disabilities by their constant referral to having a disability as a factor in a parents’ ability to effectively raise their children; and

WHEREAS, NCIL believes that no parent should lose custody of his/her children solely due to the fact that they have a disability;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED:  NCIL acknowledges that parents  with disabilities do currently lose custody of their children solely due to the fact that they have a disability; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED:  that NCIL will encourage its membership to develop strategies to address child custody issues of the parents with disabilities in their states and communities; to advocate for equal rights for parents with disabilities and to explore opportunities to provide training to the membership on issues surrounding parenting with a disability.

Submitted by:

Kelly Buckland

Megan Kirshbaum

Jan Garrett