Discrimination Against Parents with Disabilities

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Landmark Settlement Agreement: Mass Child Welfare Agency to Stop Discriminating Against Parents with Disabilities

“The stakes are never higher than when a parent faces the possibility of losing a child”

In a landmark Settlement Agreement between the Civil Rights divisions of the US Dept of Justice, the US Dept of Health & Human Services, and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, the child welfare agency will no longer “base decisions about removing a child on stereotypes or generalizations about persons with disabilities, or on a parent’s disability, diagnosis or intelligence measures (e.g., IQ scores) alone.”

“Parents with disabilities should never lose custody of their children due to discriminatory assumptions about their abilities. The love of a parent, coupled with proper support services, can overcome a multiplicity of challenges,” said Roger Severino, Director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights.

“We believe this agreement will not only help thousands of families in Massachusetts, but also will provide a roadmap for child welfare agencies nationwide on how to treat parents with disabilities with the fairness, dignity, and respect that they deserve.”

This is the first Department of Justice settlement to address disability discrimination by a state child welfare agency. (11/20)

Link to Settlement Agreement: https://www.ada.gov/mdcf_sa.html

Link to News Release: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-reaches-landmark-agreement-massachusetts-department-children-and-families

  1. I’m diagnosed with TBI from military service. While speaking with a Social Worker I mentioned that I made a bath for my daughters while my wife was running an errand. My wife got home in time to see that the bath I made for them with scolding hot. The Social Worker asked if my children got burned. I said no. She then asked if I was currently alone caring for my children. I said no. She asked if my wife was at home while we were having this conversation. I said yes, my wife is home and nobody has been hurt. The social worker called CPS and later that night CPS came to my door asking to speak with my wife. The social worker reported that I harmed my kids and blamed my wife.

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