Senate Committee hears bill to provide services to help parents with disabilities

The Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee heard a bill this week that would provide services for parents with disabilities. The legislation passed the Senate Human Services Reform Finance and Policy Committee and was referred to the State Government Finance and Policy and Elections Committee.

The bill includes multiple provisions to provide support to parents with disabilities. The bill would require the Department of Human Services (DHS) to create a pilot project to assist parents with disabilities in childbearing tasks and prevent the removal of a child solely because the parent has a disability. In addition, the bill would create two-year grants for PCA agencies to provide these supportive parenting services. The legislation would also establish a Parenting with Disability Advisory Committee to advise DHS.

A 2015 report demonstrated that parents with disabilities are overrepresented in having their parental rights terminated or seeing their children in out of home placement. From 2000-2010, 35% of the 283 parents whose parental rights were terminated identified as having at least one disability. A version of this bill was introduced in 2020 by a member of the Senate DFL, but the bill did not receive a hearing in the Senate.  (SF 296)