Parents with Serious Mental Illnesses May Face More Scrutiny from Child Protective Services [Repost]

Parenting is an important life activity for many people-with and without disabilities. Many adults with serious mental illnesses (SMI) are parents. They can be good parents with the appropriate supports in place. However, as this research shows, parents with SMI may face scrutiny from the child welfare system. In this study,  researchers looked at data from more than 28,000 U.S. parents. They found that parents with SMI were eight times more likely than parents without SMI to be contacted by Child Protective Services (CPS) and 26 times more likely to have their children removed from their homes. Fathers with SMI were at especially high risk of losing custody of their children. Although CPS plays an important role in protecting children from abuse or neglect, false-positive reports can have devastating effects on both children and parents. The researchers point out that parents with SMI may not seek needed mental health services for fear of being reported to CPS. They recommend a greater focus on parenting supports for people with SMI. They also recommend that we pay more attention to structural challenges faced by parents with SMI and their families, such as poverty, under-employment, and a lack of access to housing and healthcare.

Read more about the research here

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