The Disabled Mothers’ Rights Campaign (DMRC) launches a Charter of Rights endorsed by organisations including the Alliance for Inclusive Education, Camden Disability Action, Inclusion London, Scottish Kinship Care Alliance, and individuals including Professor Andy Bilson, Sahera Khan, artist/actor, Don O’Neal, campaigner and author, and Tina Rodwell, Independent Disability Advocate. The Charter spells out what disabled mothers are entitled to and what councils and the family courts must do to end the discrimination and abuse of power we face at their hands.

The Charter is urgently needed at a time when:

·  Disabled families are disproportionately targeted by cuts in support services, poverty-line benefits and the cost of living crisis, in particular disabled single mothers and people of colour.

·  Poverty is conflated with “neglect” and children are removed from loving families, with over 82,000 children now in “care”.

·  Parents with learning disabilities are 54 times more likely to have children taken from them, and social services view children remaining with disabled mothers as causing “future harm”.

·  Profiteer companies such as the Hesley Group are charging councils millions each year running residential homes where children who are disabled /of colour are neglected and abused. 

At the launch, disabled mothers will speak out about the discrimination they have experienced and the Charter’s demands: 

Disabled women have a right to family life – to start a family and keep our children. Our children have a right to be raised by their mother and family, and not be denied her love and care due to disability prejudice.

We have a right not to be discriminated against just for being disabled, of colour, immigrant, LGBTQI+, working class, single, on benefits, survivors of violence and abuse, we grew up in care. . .

Support services under the Care Act and Children Act must be obligatory. We must be given information about how to get that support, and get non-discriminatory assessment of our needs as a family.

All meetings and hearings in ‘child protection’ and/or family court proceedings must be made accessible, so we can have our say. Court hearings must be open to the public.

Mothers, overwhelmingly the primary carers, must never be cut off benefits. We support the call for a Care Income for the work of raising children. Child poverty is state neglect not mothers’ neglect.

Tracey Norton,who co-ordinates, DMRC says:

We have come together to make the situation of disabled mothers and our children visible. The universal bond between mother and child must be respected and supported financially, and in every way, not the privatised child removal industry which disproportionately takes children who are disabled/of colour and targets disabled mothers as harmful.

DMRC is co-ordinated by WinVisible, women with visible and invisible disabilities, and is part of Support Not Separation.

Wednesday 12 July 1pm

In person: Crossroads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, NW5 2DX & online

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