INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday, Senate Bill (SB) 259 passed out of the Senate Family and Children Services committee unanimously. The bill, authored by State Senator David Niezgodski (D-South Bend), would recognize the importance of family and children, protecting parents with disabilities from having their parenting rights denied or restricted solely on the basis that the person has a disability.

“I remain committed to Hoosier families and want to thank the parents that came down to testify in support of this proposal today,” Sen. Niezgodski said. “SB 259 is an important proposal that would ensure that parents with disabilities have the opportunity to provide the same loving home to their children as parents without disability. No parent wanting to care for a child should have that right stripped away or face discrimination simply because they have a disability.”

SB 259 would put measures in place to ensure that the Department of Child Services (DCS) cannot deny a foster family application if an applicant with a disability is otherwise qualified to be a foster parent. DCS would also be required to establish training programs to educate employees in the rights and capabilities of those with disabilities.

“Hoosier parents play a vital role in our communities,” Sen. Niezgodski stated. “This includes parents with disabilities. This bill is the only way to ensure equality for our hard-working Hoosier parents with disabilities. It’s common sense legislation.”

Next, SB 259 will be voted upon in the Senate Chamber.