Objective: The purpose of this study was to obtain sound prevalence and outcomes data on parents with disabilities and their children in statutory child protection proceedings.
Method: The court files of all care and protection matters initiated by the statutory child protection authority and finalized in a 9-month period (n=285) at two Children's Courts in NSW, Australia were reviewed.
Results: Parents with disabilities featured in almost one-third of the cases (29.5%). Parental psychiatric disability was most prevalent at 21.8% followed by parental intellectual disability (mental retardation) at 8.8%. Significant associations were found between parental disability and court outcome with a disproportionately large number of children of parents with intellectual disability being made wards of the state.
Conclusions: The findings demonstrate that parents with disabilities are significantly over-represented in statutory child protection proceedings and that the outcomes of these proceedings vary according to disability type.