Did You Know?
15% of Parents of Minors will Experience Temporary or Permanent Disability. Despite its Common Occurance, Parents with Disabilities are Far More Likely to Have Their Children Removed, Compared with Non-Disabled Parents. 8 out of 10 disabled people say they experience prejudism.
There is NO protection against discrimination in the disabled parenting role contained within the Equality Act 2010. In fact, there is no section on disabled parenting at all. Provisions for people with disabilities only include things like access to public buildings and adjustments at work. There isn't a single paragraph on protection of the disabled parent/child relationship or of the right to found a family.
Discrimination against disabled parents is rife and without the protection of written legislation we are open to abuse of power and to having our family units broken up. Data from the states suggests that 15% of physically disabled parents face attempts to have their children removed from their care.
Physically disabled parents are more likely to lose custody of their children after divorce and 13% of disabled parents say they faced discrimination in court proceedings, according to data collected from America. Parents who are deaf or blind report very high rates of child removal and for parents with depression or an intellectual disability (regardless of willingness to seek assistance) the rate of removal is as high as 80%.
Disabled parents have their parental rights terminated on grounds that would not hold up against non-disabled parents and their competence is judged to a stricter standard than that set for non-disabled parents. Disability is allowed to be considered as a factor when determining 'the best interest of the child' both in the UK and USA.
Physically disabled people who want to access assisted reproductive technology are often refused treatment because disability is seen as a risk of serious harm to the child - see this HFEA child protection document.
Disabled parents are often barred from adopting a child because they are assumed unfit to parent.
Disabled parents are treated negatively by social services, the NHS and schools. Disabled parents with mild or moderate disabilities are often assumed to need assistance when they can parent independently and refusals of 'help' are seen as non-compliance with authority. Social workers may assume that children are better off with an 'able' or 'more able' parent. Likewise, parents who do require support services are not getting them.
Birthing and maternity facilities are not tailored towards women with disabilities and midwives very often don't have the expertise to look after a disabled woman in labour. They also experience patronizing remarks from staff and other non-disabled people. Disabled mothers may be pressured to abort their babies.
Physically ill people can also have their children removed. Women with breast cancer and parents who have had strokes have had their children taken away. Forced caesarean can also occur in disabled or sick mothers.
Disabled parents are the only group of parents who consistantly have to fight to retain custody - or gain the right to have their children in the first place.
One in five non-disabled people think that disabled people should accept less rights than others. We say NO!
NOW is the time that such blatent discrimination is outlawed and that disabled parents have equal rights to their children. A change is the law is imperative to bring about justice for all disabled parents and their children who have been affected by discrimination. Join us today and help make a difference.
We Damand Change!
Disabled Parents Political Union wants equality for ALL parents.
1.Physical disability should stop being viewed as a 'red flag' and should not to be included in child protection guidelines or any other publications.
2. Health visitors and social workers should not be allowed to ask questions about parental disability unless the parent requests help or wishes to share the information.
3. Social workers and other officials should not assume that a child is at risk being with a disabled parent in the absence of any neglect or other concern.
4. Social workers should not assume that a child is carrying out caring duties for a disabled parent in the absence of evidence. Social workers and other official bodies need to let go of the prejudiced and outdated view that mild and moderately physically disabled persons need someone to 'care' for them - the majority of us live independently because we don't need help. Despite this, three quarters of non-disabled adults think disabled people need 'care', showing the widespread prejudism against disabled people. Very few disabled parents say they have significant support needs. The majority of those accessing adult services are elderly.and in fact 8% of the people providing care are disabled people themselves.
5. If any official body or other person suggests that a disabled person should not have custody of their child because of disability, or they make unproven allegations about a child caring for a disabled parent, this should be viewed in the same way as intolerance for any other minority group and treated as a hate crime.
6. Social workers should not be allowed to spot check a disabled parent's house on the basis of disability alone as this is not a child protection issue.
7. Family courts should not be allowed to bring in physical disablity, illness or surgery into custody proceedings. Being disabled or ill doesn't make you a bad parent
8. Intellectually disabled parents should not have their babies taken away immediately at birth before a support plan is put in place, if they need one.
9. Assisted Reproductive Clinics should not be allowed to refuse IUI/IVF to a disabled person on the basis of disability.
10. Adoption agencies/social services should not refuse potential adoptees on the basis of disability.
11. Social Services should stop bullying disabled parents into accepting interventions they don't want or need. Some parents, particularly those with intellectual disabilities, say they feel under pressure to accept 'services' from social workers who have low expectations about their parenting capacity.
12. Any investigation of a disabled parent for allegations of abuse or neglect should be monitored by a disabled social worker to ensure prejudism isn't occuring.
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