Know Your Rights: Parenting with a Disability

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on May 05, 2016 # Advocacy and Policy

There are 4.1 million parents in the United States living with a disability, many of whom have faced discrimination due to their disabilities. Even in 2016, there are 35 states that still include physical disability as grounds for termination of parental rights, even with no other evidence of abuse or neglect.

Today, loving and caring parents are dragged into long drawn out legal battles to obtain custody, visitation and even adoption rights, simply on the basis of their disabilities. This discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and harms families, including the 1 in 10 children whose parents have a disability.

That is why the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and the National Council on Disability (NCD) have joined forces to equip people living with disabilities with information about their rights as parents by creating a “Know Your Rights” toolkit.

This 16-page booklet covers issues parents and prospective parents with disabilities face every day, including adoption and foster care, reproductive health, child welfare, family law, and what is required by law from government services. It also features a wealth of resources to obtain more information, and spotlights what actions have been taken across the nation.

We will be releasing these materials on May 5th during a forum and strategy session at the White House.

We welcome all parents in the disability community to download a copy of the toolkit to empower themselves with information, raise awareness, and take local action to change the laws that still too often discriminate against parents with disabilities and tear families apart.

Know your rights, and take action.

Across the country, parents with disabilities are denied basic civil rights in custody and family court, child welfare, adoption and foster care, reproductive health, and other aspects of a parenting.


Learn about the problem and efforts to educate, advocate, and empower parents living with paralysis or other disabilities to know their rights and change discriminatory practices.

Webinar hosted by Rachel Patterson, Director of Public Policy, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Robyn Powell, Co-Founder of the Disabled Parenting Project. Recorded live on July 19, 2016.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.