Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in American Psychologist, 51:12 (December 1996), pp. 1239-1245; doi 10.1037/0003-066X.51.12.1239 Copyright © 1996 American Psychological Association. Used by permission. “This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.”


To access services for children with disabilities, the children often have been required to leave their families of origin. However, social science evidence indicates that there are substantial psychological benefits for children to remain with their families whenever possible. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN General Assembly, 1989) supports policies and programs that enable children with disabilities to receive services without leaving their family environment. This article briefly reviews the social science literature and the UN. Convention, and it documents trends in US. law consistent with the implications of the scientific evidence and international consensus. The authors conclude that it is important for the federal government to maintain these progressive programs and policies even as responsibilities for social programs shift to the states.