A bill co-authored by State Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette) that would protect the rights of Hoosier parents with disabilities unanimously passed the Indiana House of Representatives today.
Senate Bill 259 would require the state to recognize the parenting rights of a person, regardless of whether the person has a disability. This legislation would ensure a person's right to parent is not denied solely because they have a disability.
"I am a longtime advocate for Hoosiers with disabilities," Alting said. "Many people living with a disability are exceptional parents. SB 259 would ensure these individuals are not discriminated against when dealing with the Indiana Department of Child Services."
SB 259 would also establish procedures to be used in proceedings concerning custody, parenting time, foster care, adoption and guardianship when a parent, prospective parent, foster parent or prospective guardian is a person with a disability.
"Indiana has approximately 13,000 children in our foster care system," Alting added. "SB 259 has the potential to increase the number of licensed foster parents, ensuring that DCS cannot turn down a Hoosier just because they have a disability."
In addition, this legislation would require DCS to implement disability awareness training to educate department employees on the rights and capabilities of people with disabilities.
SB 259 will now return to the Senate for further consideration.