Gov. Jay Inslee signed Rep. Roger Freeman’s bill into law this week that will give parents with disabilities the tools they need to keep their family together.
If a parent with a disability is at risk of losing his or her child, House Bill 2616 will require the Department of Social and Health Services to give the case an extra look and see if reasonable accommodation can be made to help parents keep their children. The bill will also require the department to follow through and help parents come up with a plan to make sure they can access these support services.
“This new law is a victory for us all, but especially for parents with disabilities,” said Freeman, D-Federal Way. “Parenting is hard. As a father of two, I understand the difficulties. For a parent with disabilities, the challenges are even greater. This bill will give them access to the services they and their children deserve.”
He added that child removal rates for parents who have a psychiatric disability are as high as 70 to 80 percent and for parents with an intellectual disability, 40 to 80 percent.
“We know the best place for children is with their parents,” Freeman said. “But some parents need a little extra help. This law recognizes that and provides a new level of appreciation and respect to parents with disabilities. We have a long road ahead to ensure all Washington’s families are treated equally, but this bill is a big step in the right direction.”