Two years ago, a 19-year-old woman known under the pseudonym, “Sara Gordon,” gave birth to a little girl. Sara’s mild disability makes it difficult for her to read and follow verbal instructions. The hospital staff records state that Sara required “repetition, hands-on instruction, and frequency” in order to properly care for her new baby. Because of this, DCF was called in and when the baby was just two days old, she was placed in foster care. The state is now seeking to terminate Sara’s parental rights.
But the federal government says that the state needs to compensate Sara and give her a chance to prove that she can provide adequate care for her child. In the 26-page report, the state of Massachusetts is instructed to provide Sara with support and services that would help her learn how to care for her daughter. They are also instructed to withdraw their petition to terminate Sara’s parental rights.
Unfortunately, Sara is not the only mother with a disability to be discriminated against in this way. A blind couple in Missouri had their daughter removed; a quadriplegic mother in Chicago has been fighting to keep her son; and more.
While DCF believes they are acting in the best interest of these children, clearly more care needs to be taken to avoid discriminating against parents with disabilities. This opinion article shares one author’s concern.