Parenting Rights for Persons with Mental and Intellectual Disabilities: An Alternative Conception of ‘Parenthood’ as a Mean to Promote Disability Rights

Catalog # 639| Supervised By: Prof. Gideon Sapir

This work was supported by a grant from Shalem Fund for Development of Services for People with Intellectual Disabilities in the Local Councils in Israel

Parenthood constitutes, usually, a substantial part of an one’s adult life, and therefore the right to found a family is an integral part of the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Nevertheless, research of the policy and legislation in this field reveals an opposite approach, one that restricts and prevents parenting of persons with disabilities, and especially intellectual and mental disabilities. This research aims to uncover the reasons for this contradiction, reasons that are grounded both in the unique characterizations of parenthood and on the institutional perception of parenthood, which is reflected by the welfare authorities and the courts. The research suggests that adopting an alternative perception of parenthood, one that doesn’t focus only on duty but also on personal development and relationship, holds the potential to bridge the gap between theoretic ideals of parenthood equality, and the realization of parenthood rights in practice. Following the universal approach to disability, the alternative perception would benefit not only parents with disabilities but all parents, since most if not all of them experience temporary or permanent difficulties performing their parenthood duties.

Key search words: parenthood, disability, children’s rights.

For the full text in hebrew