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Discrimination in Child Welfare Guidance

The US Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice have issued guidance to assist state and local child welfare agencies and courts to ensure that the welfare of children and families is protected in a manner that also protects the civil rights of parents and prospective parents with disabilities.  This guidance provides an overview of the issues and application of civil rights laws. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protect parents and prospective parents with  disabilities from unlawful discrimination in the administration of child welfare programs, activities, and services. At the same time, child welfare agencies and courts have the responsibility to protect children from abuse and neglect. The goals of child welfare and disability non-discrimination are mutually attainable and complementary.  For example, ensuring that parents and prospective parents with disabilities have equal access to parenting opportunities increases the opportunities for children to be placed in safe and caring homes.