Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Parents with disabilities are more likely than other parents to become involved in the child welfare system, and once involved, their cases are more likely to end in termination of parental rights. This chapter covers basic information about parents with disabilities and child welfare involvement, including the prevalence of disability among parents generally and the frequency with which parents with disabilities are involved in child welfare cases. It discusses why these parents are disproportionately involved in child welfare proceedings and the biases of professionals that contribute not only to this frequent involvement but also to the poor outcomes in many of these cases. The chapter also covers the legal framework specifically applicable to these cases and key elements of effective advocacy, including how to raise claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 (2014) to ensure that these parents' disabilities are reasonably accommodated when reunification services are provided.


Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or downloaded or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.