The Legal Program has over 1,500 contacts a year with parents, advocates, social workers and others participating in cases involving parents with disabilities. In these cases, the parent's custody is being challenged by the state or an able bodied partner, in part or in whole, on the basis of their disability.
Ella Callow, J.D., is the Managing Attorney for the Legal Program and Custody Advisor for the National Resource Center for Parents with Disabilities. She assists parents, advocates and professionals in the legal and social service systems when they are involved in custody litigation involving the child of a parent with a disability. This can be in the context of dependency, family or adoption cases.
Additional TLG staff are involved in the legal program, as well. Dr. Megan Kirshbaum provides clinical analysis of cases and expert witness services; Meche Aguirre-Sullivan provides Spanish translation and Information and Referral services; Nikki Brown-Booker facilitates the Parent-to-Parent Network for peer legal support.
We at TLG believe that the unnecessary removal of a child from a safe and loving home, on the basis of a parent's disability, is an inexcusable traumatization of children and a violation of the civil rights of parents with disabilities. We believe that all parties should be motivated by compassion for children to avoid this outcome whenever possible. Unfortunately, what we have found specifically is that for some disability populations, removal rates of children are as high as 60%, and in general, whatever the disability population, unnecessary removal occurs too often. Our services can help.
Services Available Through the Legal Program For Parents with Disabilities