Child Welfare, Family Law, and the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and their Families

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Best Practices for Attorneys and Researchers on How to Safeguard the Rights of Parents with Intellectual Disabilities and their Families

In this brief, attorneys can learn the best practices for supporting parents with intellectual disabilities in custody disputes and other situations in which their parental rights may be threatened.
A picture of a gavel.

Family Law Project Evaluation Final Report

The purpose of this study was to investigate how former clients of the Family Law Project perceived the services they received as well as their interaction with the legal system. Specifically, we sought to understand these parents' experiences and identify their recommendations for improving both the Family Law Project and legal and support services for parents with psychiatric disabilities, generally. We also examined the experiences these parents had with the family court process.

Meeting the Needs of Parents with Psychiatric Disabilities Facing Loss of Child Custody: Advice for the Legal Profession

Parents with psychiatric disabilities (also known as serious mental illness) and their families are highly vulnerable to child welfare system involvement and loss of child custody. This brief describes five elements to providing legal representation for parents with psychiatric disabilities.
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The Legal Obligations of Child Welfare Agencies and Courts when Working with Prospective Parents with Disabilities

Find out what child welfare workers can do for parents with disabilities in this information sheet.
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The Legal Obligations of Foster Care and Adoption Agencies when Working with Prospective Parents with Disabilities

Learn what adoption and foster-care agencies are supposed to do for parents with disabilities under federal law.

Parents with Mental Illnesses and the Adoption and Safe Families Act

Learn about the rights of parents with mental illnesses, ways that professionals can support them, and efforts to expand their rights in this research brief.

Representing Parents with Disabilities in Custody and Visitation Disputes: 10 Tips for Attorneys

Attorneys can use these 10 tips to help them represent parents with disabilities in visitation or custody disputes.

Representing Parents with Disabilities: 10 Tips for Attorneys

Learn 10 tips for attorneys representing parents with disabilities.

State Legislation and Parents with Disabilities

Learn about state laws protecting people with disabilities through the types of disabilities covered, the incorporation of the ADA, and adaptive equipment and support services.

Summary of Model Legislation Supporting Parents with Disabilities

This sample legislation protecting blind parents from discrimination in family court and custody disputes can be used as a model for future state laws.

Summary of State Legislation Supporting Parents with Disabilities

This page provides a summary of current and pending state legislation affecting the rights of parents with disabilities. Some laws protect all parents with disabilities from discrimination in court proceedings, while others are specific to a population, like blind parents.

Toolkits for Legislators and Advocates

Passing legislation protecting the rights of parents with disabilities can be a complicated, time-consuming process. Our toolkits outline strategies that advocates and legislators can use to pass legislation that protects disabled parents. In addition, we've provided versions for multiple audiences, including Spanish translations and plan-language versions.

Stigma and Stereotypes Facing Mothers with Disabilities

Unfortunately, parents with disabilities face numerous stereotypes and harmful misconceptions about their ability to raise children. In this Twitter chat, mothers with disabilities share the stigma they have encountered.

Map of Current State Legislation Supporting Parents with Disabilities

This is an interactive map detailing the status of each U.S. state's current legislation supporting parents with disabilities. Hover or tab to see legislation status. Click or press return to open a new page of detailed information.
National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities