Navigation Links
Collaborative Launches Initiative to Protect Rights of Parents with Mental Illnesses
Date:7/8/2008

WASHINGTON, July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mikayla Bailey Null ran up against her state's discriminatory child custody law when her daughter was wrested from her custody and she had to battle to get her back. To help parents who, like Null, have mental illnesses and who desperately hope, and deserve, to keep or regain custody of their children, the national UPenn Collaborative on Community Integration has launched an initiative to educate legislators around the country in order to challenge state laws and policies that discriminate against such parents. The Collaborative, a national rehabilitation research and training center devoted to promoting community integration for individuals with psychiatric disabilities, is especially targeting state laws that list a mental illness as one of the grounds for not providing "reasonable efforts" to reunify a family: in Alaska, Arizona, California, and Kentucky, as well as in Puerto Rico.

Mikayla Bailey Null's story is a case in point. While on vacation, Null, an Arizonan, had a bad reaction to a medication she had taken. In an ensuing argument with her then-14-year-old daughter, she slapped the girl, who ran out of the cabin. Police arrived, put Null's daughter in foster care and arrested Null. "I was charged with felony child abuse and felony assault because of a slap on the face," she said. "I'm sorry I slapped my daughter but I'm certain that, if I had not had a diagnosis of mental illness, I would not have been charged so severely."

After the girl was released to the custody of Null and her husband, Arizona Child Protective Services made the unfounded assumption that Null posed a chronic threat to her daughter and initiated home visits, despite no evidence of past abuse. After Null asked to discontinue the visits because they so distressed her daughter, child welfare authorities showed up at the girl's school and took her back into foster care. "They put a note on my door," Null recalled. "I can't even describe the trauma of having to have supervised visitation with my daughter, whom I had adopted from another country because I wanted this child so badly." The girl, taken from a loving family and thrust into a group home, was also traumatized. "She didn't smile for over a year," Null recalled.

Null discovered that Arizona is among the states that list a parent's mental illness as grounds for not providing reasonable efforts to reunify a family. The relevant portion of Arizona state law (8-846) notes that "reunification services are not required" if the parent or guardian has "a mental illness or mental deficiency of such magnitude that . . . . the parent or guardian is unlikely to be capable of adequately caring for the child within twelve months after the date of the child's removal from the home."

The UPenn Collaborative is publicizing Null's story to educate legislators and the public about the impact of the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illnesses. The Collaborative's goals include changing or deleting language that discriminates against parents with mental illnesses in legislation and policies that determine when reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify the family are not required. "Such policies and legislation should use language that does not single out parents with mental illnesses," said UPenn Collaborative director Dr. Mark Salzer. "We also seek relief for these parents under the Americans with Disabilities Act." Dr. Salzer made it clear that under no circumstances is the Collaborative advocating that children be reunified with parents, with or without mental illnesses, who may pose a danger to them.

The Collaborative notes that there has been progress. For example, the Kansas statute, which previously included discriminatory language, was recently rewritten to include language stating that "[n]othing in this code shall be construed to permit discrimination on the basis of disability. . . ."

The Collaborative is seeking stories from parents besides Null who have faced similar discrimination. Parents are encouraged to share their stories with the Collaborative's Pam Cousounis (pamelac2@mail.med.upenn.edu, 215-746-1950). "This information will be useful in developing training, policy and research initiatives to increase opportunities for parents with mental illnesses to have strong, loving relationships with their children," said Dr. Salzer.

The UPenn Collaborative on Community Integration is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. For more information, please contact the UPenn Collaborative (http://www.upennrrtc.org).

Contact: Katy Kaplan, M.S. Ed., Coordinator, UPenn Collaborative on Community Integration, 888-320-4580, katykap@mail.med.upenn.edu


'/>"/>
SOURCE UPenn Collaborative on Community Integration
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Health care incentive model offers collaborative approach
2. Sanofi-aventis US Chairman Tim Rothwell Addresses CMSAs Collaborative Practice Summit
3. Collaborative Drug Discovery, Inc. and St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital Make Malaria Research Data Available to Speed Drug Development
4. Free Access to Literature Data on Chagas Disease Offered Online: Collaborative Drug Discovery, Inc. provides Neglected Disease researchers with archive mine and collaborate access to small molecule bioactivity SAR data on parasitic disease
5. First-Ever Collaborative Summit on Breast Cancer Research Targets New Partnerships and Collaborative Solutions
6. AIDS Healthcare Foundation and NCHADS to Open the 7th collaborative ART Center in Pea Reang
7. Digital Lightbox(C) Unlocks New Possibilities in Collaborative Patient Treatment
8. HIV Collaborative Fund Receives Gates Foundation Grant for AIDS Treatment and Prevention Advocacy
9. Cancer Vaccine Consortium and Cancer Vaccine Collaborative unite under the Cancer Research Institute
10. Pennsylvania Attorney General Approves Vincentian Collaborative System-Marian Manor Integration
11. Keystone Programs for Collaborative Discovery Launch at Fox Chase
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Quality metrics are proliferating in cancer care, and are derived ... eye of the beholder, according to experts who offered insights and commentary in the ... Care. For the full issue, click here . , For the American Society ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements ... was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is ... herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts from the American ... Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. ... including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family engagement. , AIR ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture ... said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package ... Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for ... is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; ... for its Elecsys BRAHMS PCT (procalcitonin) assay as a ... septic shock. With this clearance, Roche is the first ... integrated solution for sepsis risk assessment and management. ... infection and PCT levels in blood can aid clinicians ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. ... company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization ... in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical trial (Halt ... its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the trial to ... 2016, and to report top line data from ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Bracket , a leading clinical trial technology and ... platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the 52 nd ... 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  A demonstration ... of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, will be ... is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes assessments that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: