New Ohio Law Protects the Rights of Parents with Disabilities

June 13, 2023

In April 2023, Ohio passed a law which prohibits authorities from denying or limiting participation in parenting activities on the sole basis of disability.

A new law went into effect in Ohio this past April which makes it unlawful for Ohio decision-makers such as courts, children’s services, child placement agencies and adoption agencies to deny or limit parental or custodial rights based on a person’s disabilities.  Following the lead of some 17 other states, the law ensures that the rights of parents with disabilities are equal to those without disabilities and acknowledges that disability does not determine fitness to parent.

Dr. Kara Ayers, Associate Director of the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, along with the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council, the National Federation of the Blind of Ohio, the Ability Center of Greater Toledo and other partners, advocated for more than seven years to get these important protections for parents with disabilities passed into Ohio law.  

Dr. Ayers is an Ohio mom with a disability and a researcher who studies parenting with a disability. She spoke at the press conference celebrating the passage of the bill, thanking the state senators and representatives who led the legislative process and Governor DeWine for signing the bill and referencing research “spotlighting our ability to problem-solve, greater capacities for empathy among our children, and adaptability-which always helps in parenting!”