In the Matter of Lacee L.

State: New York

Filed: 2018

Court: New York Court of Appeals

Overview: The brief supported a mother with intellectual disability who had her child removed from her care without receiving appropriate accommodations from the state’s child welfare agency that would have allowed her an equal chance to parent effectively. The brief argued that the court must recognize the important role that the family and appellate courts have in enforcing the rights of parents with intellectual disability to receive the supports and accommodations they need to preserve and reunify their families. The brief also provided background on the meaning of an intellectual disability diagnosis, the long history of discrimination against parents with intellectual disability, and the social science and personal stories that show how people with intellectual disability can flourish as parents when provided the supports and services they need to thrive.

Excerpt: “Individuals with intellectual disability can learn how to parent, improve their parenting skills, and parent successfully with appropriate support. Robust enforcement of the reasonable accommodations requirement of the ADA is essential to guaranteeing that they have an equal opportunity to do so.”

Status: In 2018, the Court found that the child welfare agency had met the reasonable efforts requirement and provided all accommodations required. However, on the broader issue of the applicability of the ADA to the proceedings, the Court did state: “An agency, like ACS, that is subject to Title II of the ADA must make ‘reasonable accommodations’ to allow ‘meaningful access’ to government services…To be sure, ACS must comply with the ADA.”

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: In the Matter of Lacee L.

New York Court of Appeals Opinion