Action Required: Parents with Disabilities, Call or Email Indiana Rep DeVon Regarding SB 312

Take Immediate action and share with family, friends and colleagues!

SB 312 – Parents with Disabilities has been sent to the House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee, BUT Representative DeVon (Committee Chair) needs to hear from the disability community and its allies on why it is important for the committee to hear this bill and how it impacts Hoosier parents with disabilities!

We need you to phone Representative DeVon on Monday February 17 and Tuesday February 18 at 317-232-9769.
Email Representative DeVon on Monday February 17 and Tuesday February 18 at h5@iga.in.gov

Below you will find a phone call script, email script, and examples.
**Remember that sharing a personal story will be the most impactful way to get SB 312 heard.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by disability discrimination in parenting, fostering, or adopting PLEASE share your story. Here is more information about the bill:

SUMMARY: Parents with a disability. Specifies that it is the policy of the state to recognize the importance of family and children, including the parenting rights of a parent, regardless of whether the parent has a disability. Provides that the right of a person with a disability to parent the person’s child may not be denied or restricted solely because the person has a disability.

Establishes procedures to be used in proceedings concerning: (1) custody; (2) parenting time; (3) adoption; (4) foster care; and (5) guardianship; when a parent, prospective parent, prospective foster parent, or prospective guardian is a person with a disability. Requires the department of child services to implement disability awareness training. Provides for the expungement of information relating to the unlawful removal of a child from the home of a person with a disability. Makes conforming amendments.
READ FULL TEXT OF BILL
ORIGINAL AUTHOR: Senator Niezgodski | SPONSOR: Representative Ziemke

GENERAL MESSAGING:

Parents with disabilities have a right to be free from discrimination and the fear of having their children removed from their home or taken from them on the basis of disability.
Parents with disabilities have the same right to foster and adopt children as parents without disabilities. Parents with disabilities are excellent caretakers of children with disabilities, as we have a greater understanding of their needs.

SPECIFIC MESSAGING:

SB 312 will help keep Hoosier families together and further strengthen and protect the rights of Hoosiers with disabilities, specifically parents with disabilities.
Expunging discriminatory claims acknowledges the disability discrimination that has occurred and helps prevent future discrimination against our peers with disabilities.

POTENTIAL PUSHBACK:

If the ADA and Rehab Act already prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the provision of child welfare services, why is this bill necessary?
While the ADA and Rehab Act do prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. Unfortunately, discrimination is still rapidly occurring in the provision of child welfare services in our state. There is a national trend to help strengthen enforcement of the ADA and Rehab Act by passing supplemental state legislation to protect our parents with disabilities.

Laws that prohibit discrimination are not 100% effective. We must take alternative routes to help implement these laws. SB 312 will provide necessary disability awareness training to help reduce implicit bias by DCS staff.

Phone Call Voice Message Script

Note: This script is intended to be left as a voice message. A phone call will include similar steps but may involve a more organic conversation. The people answering the phone will not question your opinions or argue with you. They simply record what you have to say!

Hello! My name is ____________________.
I live in/work for ____________________. (if applicable)
and I am calling to speak with Senator/Representative ____________________
about SB 312.
I want to share my support for SB 312 because:
Thank you!

EXAMPLE #1 (On behalf of Self/Individual):

Hello! My name is Morgan Smith. I live in Indianapolis, IN and I am calling to speak with Representative DeVon about SB 312. We noticed that SB 312 has been assigned to the House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee and we would like to see the Committee hear this bill. SB 312 insures that children are not taken from their parents simply because the parents have a disability. My peers with disabilities have the same right to have a family and raise children as my peers without disabilities. We urge you to hear SB 312. Thank you!

EXAMPLE #2 (On behalf of an Organization/Entity):

Hello! My name is Morgan Smith. I work for the Indiana Statewide Independent Living Council and I am calling to speak with Representative DeVon about SB 312. We noticed that SB 312 has been assigned to the House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee and we would like to see the Committee hear this bill. SB 312 will provide necessary disability awareness training to help prevent continued discrimination against me and my peers with disabilities. My peers with disabilities have the same right to raise a family, foster, and adopt as my peers without disabilities. We urge you to hear SB 312. Thank you!

Sample Email:

Don’t forget to put the bill name and number in the subject line!
To: Senator’s email address and/or Legislative assistant’s email address
Subject: SB 312
Representative/Senator ____________________,
My name is Jane Doe. I am writing in support of SB 312
Explanation.
I am asking for you to support SB 312.
I am happy to engage in further discussion about SB 312. I can be contacted at
Thank you.

EMAIL EXAMPLE #1:

To: h5@iga.in.gov
Subject: Please hear SB 312 PARENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Representative DeVon,
My name is Morgan Smith and I am writing in support of SB 312, Parents with Disabilities. Parents with disabilities have a right to be free from discrimination and the fear of having their children removed from their home or taken from them solely on the basis of disability.
I am asking you to hear SB 312 in the House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee.
Our community is regularly impacted by discrimination in parenting and we need your help. I am happy to engage in further discussion about SB 312 and can be contacted via email or phone at 317-555-5555.

Thank you,

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