[nfb-talk] Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children

Sheri Anderson sheri.k.anderson at gmail.com
Wed Oct 3 13:48:49 UTC 2012

Dear Fellow Federationists,

I am sharing the below findings from a recently released report,
impacting us, both as individuals, and as members of a National
organization making a difference in the lives of those who are blind.
Unfortunately, the highlighted discrimination reported here is very
real and not a generalized, antiquated summary.

Let us read, disseminate and “ACT.”

Sheri Anderson
The National Council on Disability (NCD) just released a ground
breaking report entitled Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of
Parents with Disabilities and Their Children. It documents serious
problems for both parents with disabilities and their children. Among
its many findings and recommendations are:
• There are 4.1 million parents with disabilities in the United
States, roughly 6.2 percent of all American parents with children
under the age of 18. Of the parents with disabilities, 2.8 percent
have a mobility disability, 2.3 percent have a cognitive disability,
2.3 percent have a daily activity limitation, 1.4 percent have a
hearing disability, and 1.2 percent have a vision disability.
• Parents with disabilities struggle to retain custody of their
children. Removal rates where parents have a psychiatric disability
have been found to be as high as 70 percent
to 80 percent; where the parent has an intellectual disability, 40
percent to 80 percent. In families where the parental disability is
physical, 13 percent have reported discriminatory treatment in custody
cases. Parents who are deaf or blind report extremely high rates of
child removal and loss of parental rights. Parents with disabilities
are more likely to lose custody of their children after divorce, have
more difficulty in accessing reproductive health care, and face
significant barriers to adopting children.
• The Administration should issue an Executive Order establishing an
Interagency Committee on Parents with Disabilities to address the many
serious issues.
• The Administration and federal agencies should gather effective data
on parents with disabilities and their families.
• States must eliminate disability from their statutes as grounds for
termination of parental rights and enact legislation that ensures the
rights of parents with disabilities.

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