Safeguarding the Rights of Parents with Intellectual Disabilities in Child Welfare Cases: The Convergence of Social Science and Law
Robyn M. Powell, Safeguarding the Rights of Parents with Intellectual Disabilities in Child Welfare Cases: The Convergence of Social Science and Law, 20 CUNY L. Rev. 127 (2017).
23 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 8, 2017
In recent years, legal scholars and practitioners as well as policymakers have focused unprecedented attention on the rights of parents with disabilities, particularly intellectual disabilities, and their children. At the same time, social scientists have developed a breadth of literature on the needs and experiences of these families. Nonetheless, a clear divide remains between the fields, resulting in ongoing discrimination and the unnecessary separation of many families headed by a parent with an intellectual disability. Hence, the overarching goal of this article is to explore how legal scholarship, advocacy, and policymaking can be better informed by social science. This Article begins with a brief historical perspective on how the rights of parents with intellectual disabilities have evolved over time. Analyzing the language in state dependency statutes and judicial decisions, this Article demonstrates the implicit and explicit bias that exists and the need for informed policies and adjudication. Next, the Article examines how the law can learn from social science by highlighting findings from current social science research concerning these families. Finally, the Article offers concluding thoughts about how decision-making in dependency cases as well as public policy can and should benefit from social science research.
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