Protecting Parental Rights in Colorado

By State Rep. Jessie Danielson

Becoming a parent is almost considered a basic human right in our nation; unless you have a disability. Too often, parents who have any type of disability have that disability used against them in a custody battle or to prevent them from adopting a child. That’s why I am sponsoring HB18-1104: Family Preservation for Parents with a Disability.

HB18-1104 would ensure that a parent’s disability may not serve as the basis for removal of a child, the prevention of adoption, or providing foster care or guardianship. The bill also specifies that a parent with a disability must have access to their adaptive devices and receive reasonable accommodation when a court is determining parental responsibilities.

“Too often decisions are made to prevent a child from going home, without providing parents a fair opportunity to parent,” Carrie Ann Lucas, Executive Director of Disabled Parents Rights, explained while testifying in the House Public Health & Human Services Committee.  Carrie was one of several parents and experts in Disability Law who testified in favor of Family Preservation with a series of emotional accounts of custody challenges to parents with a disability.

This discrimination faced by parents with a disability is abhorrent. Family Preservation for Parents with a Disability is about keeping families together. It’s time for the Colorado legislature to evaluate what’s really in the best interest of the child, the parent, and our community. It’s time to pass HB18-1104 and protect the right of disabled Coloradans to parent their children.

This week, HB18-1104 passed out of the state House of Representatives and is headed to the state Senate for review.

Jessie Danielson represents State House District 24 in Jefferson County, and serves as Speaker Pro Tempore of the state House of Representatives. Rep. Danielson’s legislative office phone is 303-866-5522. Her website is www.jessiedanielson.com.

Rachel Caine