Document Type


Publication Date



Parents with severe mental illness are at greater risk than others of becoming involved in the child protection system, and their cases are more likely than others to result in termination of parental rights. Among women with severe mental illness, 26-75% lose custody to one or more of their children, rates far higher than for women without mental illness. Lawyers who represent mentally ill parents in child protection matters face a number of challenges, including maintaining a productive attorney-client relationship, advocating for appropriate services and reasonable accommodations for their clients’ disabilities, and refuting assumptions about their clients’ parenting abilities that may be far worse than whatever parenting deficiencies their clients actually have. A great deal of client counseling, investigation, and strong advocacy in and out of court is required.


Reproduced with permission.

Included in

Family Law Commons