Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel Hires Alison Butler as Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Advocacy Director
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2020
DENVER, Colorado – The Office of Respondent Parents’ Counsel (ORPC) is thrilled to announce Alison Butler is joining the office as the Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Advocacy Director. In this new position, named after tireless disability advocate and former ORPC staff attorney Carrie Ann Lucas, Alison will advocate for real change for parents and families with disabilities in the state of Colorado and beyond..
On February 24, 2019, Colorado and the nation lost a fierce disability rights advocate, Carrie Ann Lucas, when she died at the age of 47. Carrie, who had a rare form of muscular dystrophy, became a lawyer to practice family law after experiencing discrimination in her effort to adopt her oldest daughter, Heather. She went on to adopt three more children with disabilities and opened Disabled Parents Rights, where she became a national expert, trainer, and legal advocate for parents with disabilities. Carrie spent two decades helping children receive quality educations, defending families, and advocating on behalf of disabled adults and children.
At the time of her death, Carrie was the Case Strategy Director for the ORPC. Carrie’s advocacy was instrumental in the passage of a bill, HB 18-1104, amending Colorado law to ensure that a parent’s disability cannot be the sole reason for denial of custody, adoption, foster care, or guardianship of a child. The bill also ensures that parents with disabilities receive reasonable accommodations to allow them to reunify with their children. These changes create a high watermark for how parents with disabilities should be treated, although passage of the bill was only part of Carrie’s legacy.
Another piece of Carrie’s immense impact was through her role at the ORPC, where she advocated for the rights of parents with disabilities. To honor Carrie’s memory and to ensure that her important work continues after her passing, the ORPC has created the position of the Carrie Ann Lucas Disability Advocacy Director.
Alison Butler joins the ORPC from Disability Law Colorado, where she was Director of Legal Services. In that role, Alison oversaw all investigations of abuse and neglect, individual representation in disability discrimination cases, assistance to students and parents with disability-related legal issues in schools, and cases in which residents of institutions sought legal assistance to secure a less restrictive placement in the community. Additionally, Alison provided dozens of trainings state and nationwide to other lawyers, organizations, and members of the community on a multitude of disability topics. She also used her advocacy skills to advance the rights of people with disabilities through legislative and committee work.
Prior to joining Disability Law Colorado in 2007, Alison worked in private practice protecting and defending civil rights of individuals in the community. Alison began her career in the Public Defender’s Office in Palm Beach County, Florida and is licensed to practice law in Colorado, Florida and New York. Alison received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University and her law degree from Columbia University School of Law.
Alison will begin her work with the ORPC on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Please join us in welcoming her to our community of family defenders as she persists in the important work of advocating for parents with disabilities in honor of our friend and colleague, Carrie Ann Lucas.