Moran helps introduce bill to protect children with disabilities globally

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 8:59 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 9:01 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Moran has helped to introduce legislation to protect children with disabilities globally.

U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) says he and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) have introduced a bill to bolster national support for children with disabilities and help support local disabilities rights organizations and families of children with disabilities globally.

“Children with disabilities deserve a place in society where they are respected, loved and treated with basic human dignity,” said Sen. Moran. “This legislation helps protect the most vulnerable children around the globe and gives them opportunities to succeed by helping keep children out of harmful institutions and supporting their families.”

Moran said the International Children with Disabilities Act would create the International Children with Disabilities Protection Program in the State Department to empower those with disabilities.

“I am proud to be joined by my colleagues in introducing our International Children with Disabilities Protection Act to address gaps in the United States assistance for the more than 240 million children with disabilities worldwide,” said Menendez. “Children with disabilities are among the most vulnerable in society—frequently denied the choice to live with their loved ones, to receive an education, and to engage and thrive in their communities. By shoring up our resources to amplify the voices and bolster the work of those fighting for the rights of children with disabilities around the world —particularly families of children with disabilities— this legislation represents a significant step forward in advancing disability rights and achieving lasting reform.”

Additionally, Moran said the legislation would reinforce U.S. policy to protect against the unnecessary institutionalization of children with disabilities and to help promote the development of laws and policies that support the full inclusion of children with disabilities in families.

“This bill supports disability activists and families working in their own countries to ensure that every child with a disability can live and grow up with a family,” said Eric Rosenthal, Executive Director of Disability Rights International (DRI). “A relatively small investment by the United States in supporting advocacy will have a big impact on protecting millions of children with disabilities at risk of losing their families.”

Moran noted that the legislation is supported by dozens of leading disability rights organizations.

“The International Children with Disabilities Protection Act provides support to activists working in their own countries to make the legal and policy changes needed to create alternatives to institutionalization and support families to keep their children at home, at home, with access to the help they need to thrive,” said Julie Ward, Senior Executive Officer, Public Policy, The Arc of the United States.

Moran indicated that the bill was cosponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

“When my son was just diagnosed with autism 29 years ago, his physician recommended institutionalizing him at just two years old,” said Isabel Hodge, Executive Director, U.S. International Council on Disabilities. “Today, with community-based support, he lives in his own home, is employed, and is also regularly involved in the community through church activities and his hobbies. If we had acted on the physician’s recommendation, then his life would be vastly different and we’re not sure he would have survived into adulthood. All children deserve to grow up with the love and support of their families and community. Please support the International Children with Disabilities Protection Act.”

To read the full text of the legislation, click HERE.