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Parents with disability face discrimination in child protection systems

Today the Disability Royal Commission published a commissioned research report titled Parents with disability and their experiences of child protection systems, conducted by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and Western Sydney University.

In the report, interviews were conducted with parents with disability, advocates, caseworkers, service providers, Children’s Court clinicians and lawyers in New South Wales and Victoria to hear from those who have experience with child protection systems.

From these interviews, participants outlined examples of risk assessments being conducted in ways that didn’t accommodate for their disability or cultural background.

The report states that the combination of disability and risk is one of the most explicit forms of discrimination parents with disability face. This is magnified for First Nations parents with disability.

The report finds that parents with disability are over-represented as subjects of child protection allegations, investigations and proceedings.

The findings indicate that law, policy, practice and funding reforms are necessary for parents with disability to uphold their human rights and look after their children where practicable.

Twenty-seven recommendations are made in the report, including:

  • Access to safe, secure and accessible social housing must be urgently increased.

  • Social supports for parents, including social payments and housing, continue for a minimum of 12 months after final care and protection orders are made.

  • A social justice package be established to assist parents with disability who have experienced child removal or who were themselves removed from their families when children.

Read the Parents with disability and their experiences of child protection systems report.

Please direct all inquiries to the Disability Royal Commission media team on 0436 841 166 or via our email