Parents with Disabilities Fight to Keep Their Children

Parents with Disabilities Fight to Keep Their Children

Approximately one in 10 children in the United States might be removed from their homes by a welfare agency who believes their parents are incapable of raising them because of their parent's disabilities.

A census also states that at least 15% of American parents with children at home have disabilities, and some of these families have been targeted and discriminated against because of them.

Their families, neighbors and the CPS have investigated into their lives and tried to make decisions for them. But, these parents are fighting back, and working to keep their children with them for as long as possible.

Stories of disabled parents and their fight with CPS

In New York, five parents with disabilities filed a lawsuit to get their children back from the New York's Administration for Children's Services This situation is not unique, and it's growing to be nationally acceptable. Parents with disabilities are more likely to have their children removed from their home than non-disabled parents.

In Oregon, Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler have mental disabilities and are struggling with Oregon state’s CPS torecover custody of their little boys, Christopher and Hunter. Fabrini tells Robyn Powell on January 3, 2018, “I tend to learn a little slower than others, but it in no way affects my abilities to safely care for my kids and no effect on my day-to-day living.”

When Christopher was only four days old, Fabbrini’s family contacted the protection agency because they didn't believe in Fabbrini and Ziegler's ability to care for him. Now, Christoper is in foster care.

When their second son, Hunter, was born in 2017, CPS immediately removed him from the hospital.

The couple has enrolled in parenting classes, Fabbrini says, so they could get their children back. But, not only are they fighting for their families, they are also fighting the system. Fabbrini states that the couple is standing up for other families in this situation and that they want to help other disabled families have a say in what happens to their children.

Carrie Ann Lucas’s Story: A lawyer with muscular dystrophy's long battle with CPS

Lucas was well on her way to getting a degree in sports medicine and law when she was struck down by a rare degenerative neuromuscular disease. Once her condition became worse, Lucas was enrolled in law school at the University of Denver. She only stopped studying for one month to learn sign language and Braille, and to also find ways to adapt to her other disabilities. Lucas still graduated 15th in her class, despite her obstacles.

Carrie Ann Lucas of Windsor, Colorado has mitochondrial myopathy, a form of muscular dystrophy that eventually requires the use of a wheelchair and a ventilator. Because of her condition, Lucas also has poor vision and hearing. However, Lucas is still an attorney with a sharp mind and has represented parents with disabilities for over two decades, working with Colorado's state agency that oversee court-appointed attorneys.