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Parenting in the Face of Prejudice

The Need for Representation for Parents with Mental Illness

By Colby Brunt & Leigh Goodmark

Misconceptions and misgivings about the ability to parent while dealing with mental illness abound. Although mental illness can render some individuals unfit to parent, the vast majority of mentally ill parents simply need access to services and supports that will help them parent effectively. One important, often overlooked, service is legal assistance. Parents with mental illness must have skilled and knowledgeable legal representation when the issues of child protection, termination of parental rights, custody, visitation, and the patient-psychotherapist privilege arise.

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