Disabled parents nearly lose custodyMay 05 04:59
I came across a news story from Canada today about parents, both with moderate (not severe) Cerebral Palsy (CP) who were almost denied their parenting rights because authorities were worried about their ability to take care of their son. Haven't we moved past such a day in age?
When I think of all the people in this world who have been allowed to keep their children, drug addicts, physically abusive individuals, neglectful people who just don't care, it really gets my blood boiling when I hear about parents with disabilities being doubted as qualified parents simply because they have a disability.
I thought the time when people were shocked to see, say a mom in a wheelchair was long gone (except in far off uncivilized areas of the world). And I especially thought such old fashioned (discriminatory) attitudes were especially gone in progressive countries like Canada. So what happened here?
The parents, Maricyl Palisoc and Charles Wilson, both have Cerebral Palsy. Their motor abilities are impaired, but they can still walk and the mother only needs help bathing the baby (the rest of the cares she can do on her own). And cognitively they’re 100% "normal." Luckily, The Coalition for People with Disabilities intervened and fought on their behalf. They were able to help come up with an agreement with authorities, which was the couple get 24 hour in-home nursing care in case either parent needs help taking care of the baby.
But here's the kicker: The state won't pay for the required home care, leaving it up to the parents to pay for the $2,000 a week bill. And they live in disabled housing and are both on restricted incomes. Not a good situation. Thankfully, they lucked out. They've been able to find an advocate to pay for their home care expenses (until they can pay on their own.)
All I know is that this entire news story should never have happened in the first place.
Are you a parent with a disability and have had to prove yourself? And what do you think of this situation? Is it insulting or can you understand the authority's point of view?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.