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

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