A bill authored by State Sen. Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) 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.
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.
"As an advocate for Indiana foster parents and a member of the Indiana Senate Committee on Family and Children Services, I'm pleased to see SB 259 move forward in the legislative process," Ford said. "It's important we not exclude Hoosiers with disabilities from serving as foster parents. A disability does not mean a person is incapable of caring for a child."
In addition, this legislation would require the Department of Child Services 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.