Public Interest Government Relations update

Summary on congressional briefing and update on attempt to ratify UN treaty advocating for persons with disabilities.

By Stefanie Reeves, MA

APA co-hosts congressional briefing on Parents with Disabilities

APA, in collaboration with the National Council on Disability (NCD), the National Association of Social Work (NASW) and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) hosted a congressional briefing based on NCD’s report Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children. The report, issued in the fall of 2012, describes the challenges and barriers individuals with disabilities face in starting and maintaining families. The report also cites APA’s Guidelines for Assessment of and Intervention With Persons With Disabilities developed by the Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology (CDIP).

The briefing panel included APA member Erin Andrews, PsyD, current co-chair of CDIP. Andrews spoke not only about her research on women with disabilities, but also gave a personal testimony about her experience as a mother with a disability. APA will continue to work with NCD on this and other issues related to persons with disabilities.

Clockwise: Jeff Rosen, chairperson, National Council on Disability (moderator); Elspeth M. Slayter, PhD, MSW, associate professor, Salem State University School of Social Work; Linda Spears, vice president of policy and public affairs, Child Welfare League of America; Erin E. Andrews, PsyD, rehabilitation psychologist, Central Texas VA Health Care System, clinical assistant professor, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College of Medicine; Robyn Powell, attorney advisor, National Council on Disability.

Clockwise: Jeff Rosen, chairperson, National Council on Disability (moderator); Elspeth M. Slayter, PhD, MSW, associate professor, Salem State University School of Social Work; Linda Spears, vice president of policy and public affairs, Child Welfare League of America; Erin E. Andrews, PsyD, rehabilitation psychologist, Central Texas VA Health Care System, clinical assistant professor, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College of Medicine; Robyn Powell, attorney advisor, National Council on Disability.

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities falls short of Senate ratification

On Dec. 4, 2012, the United States Senate failed to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The final vote was 61 to 38, coming five votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to ratify an international treaty in the Senate. CRPD promotes, protects and ensures the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and promotes respect for their inherent dignity. APA will continue to advocate for the ratification of CRPD during the 113th Congress.

Get Involved

There are a number of ways to get involved with advocacy through APA’s Public interest Government Relations Office including: 

  • Sharing research and clinical expertise with policymakers. 

  • Attending an advocacy workshop and advocacy day. 

  • Participating in state/district visits with policymakers. 

  • Testifying or presenting at congressional hearings or briefings. 

  • Applying for a fellowship or internship in Washington, D.C.

APA hosts the Public Policy Advocacy Network (PPAN) which allows APA members to take action on the important legislative issues of the day. We encourage you to learn more about PPAN or sign up to receive our alerts.