September 29, 2022

Duckworth, Durbin Join Colleagues to Help Introduce International Children with Disabilities Protection Act


[WASHINGTON, D.C.]U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and eight of their Senate colleagues to help introduce the International Children with Disabilities Protection Act to bolster U.S. support for children with disabilities, helping improve the capacity of local disabilities rights organizations and families of children with disabilities around the world to advocate for necessary reforms.

“The International Children with Disabilities Protection Act sends a clear message: we live in a global community where it is everyone’s responsibility to help ensure all children are seen as important and valued members of our world,” said Duckworth. “I’m proud to help introduce a bill that would push the U.S. forward in helping folks with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities advocate for common-sense policy reforms and the respect and tools they need and deserve.”

Across the world, millions of children with disabilities are left behind, often in institutions with little care,” said Durbin. “This critical legislation will establish a program within the State Department to help ensure that the United States, in partnership with NGOs, supports children with disabilities around the world so they can grow up in a loving environment. No child should fear their future, and I’m glad to help advance this important, bipartisan legislation.”

The bipartisan effort specifically authorizes $10 million each year for five years for the creation and establishment of an ‘‘International Children with Disabilities Protection Program,” a grant program within the State Department to empower organizations of persons with disabilities. In addition to creating the first U.S. program focused on helping global efforts to combat stigma and discrimination against children with disabilities, the legislation reinforces 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.

“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.”

“Children with disabilities deserve a place in society where they are respected, loved and treated with basic human dignity,” said 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.”

Joining U.S. Senators Duckworth, Durbin, Menendez and Moran are Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

The International Children with Disabilities Protection Act is also supported by dozens of leading disability rights organizations including World Vision, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, ChildFund International, Catholic Charities Disabilities Services, Disability Rights International, The Arc of the United States and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities.

A copy of the bill text can be found here.