The child protection legal system is supposed to work towards the reunification of parents and children in foster care through individualized services to help parents raise their children safely. But that legal system has long been criticized for frequent and severe invasions into the family integrity rights of parents with disabilities and their children, treating parental disabilities as grounds for permanent separation instead of individual characteristics to be accommodated. Several years ago, it seemed that the law was turning. In 2015, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice issued joint guidance stating that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applied to parents with disabilities in child protection cases. The joint guidance urged states to more effectively help reunify families with a disabled parent and prevent their separation in the first instance. A small number of state courts issued decisions requiring truly individualized accommodations for parents with disabilities. But those cases remain outliers. Sarah H. Lorr has done the child protection legal field an excellent service by outlining just how far it has left to go in her forthcoming article Unaccommodated: How the ADA Fails Parents.
Family Law | Juvenile Law | Law
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Josh Gupta-Kagan, Accommodating Parents, JOTWELL (February 10, 2022) (reviewing Sarah H. Lorr, Unaccommodated: How the ADA Fails Parents, 110 Calif. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2022), available at SSRN), https://family.jotwell.com/accommodating-parents/.