Recently the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a rule to strengthen the implementation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Before we get into what the proposed change is, we need to know what the legislation currently covers.
When the Rehabilitation Act was signed into law in 1973, it created a national law that protects qualified individuals from discrimination based on their disability. This section of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is where we get the Section 504 plans for students in schools. This requires recipients of federal funding to provide students with disabilities with appropriate educational services.
The proposed change to the rule would update, clarify, and strengthen the regulation for Section 504. One change that is proposed would ensure medical treatment decisions are not based on any biases, stereotypes, judgments, or beliefs that people with a disability have less value.
Another proposed change, that directly impacts CASA’s work with children, is that there will be requirements to ensure nondiscrimination in the areas of parent-child visitation, reunification services, child removals and placements, guardianship, parenting skills program, foster and adoptive assessments, and in and out of home services. This proposed change is in direct response to the variety of discriminatory barriers parents, caregivers, and foster parents have encountered when attempting to access child welfare programs. It is wonderful to see changes happening to benefit children wit disabilities and their support systems. With these proposed changes, CASA will continue to advocate for children to have access to services that are appropriate for their unique needs.
Want to learn more about this change? Click here!