Should IQ Determine If You Can Be A Parent?
That is the question facing the State of Oregon and two parents, Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler.
I recently found an article in The Oregonian newspaper describing the situation in which Amy and Eric had their children removed from their custody because the state determined their IQ’s were not high enough.
According to the article:
For nearly four years, the Redmond couple has been fighting to prove to the state of Oregon that they are intellectually capable of raising their children. The Department of Human Services has removed both of their boys, saying the parents are too mentally limited to be good parents.
The state has stated that they found no neglect and are basing their decision to attempt to terminate the couple’s parental rights solely on the scores of the IQ test they took.
According to documents provided by Amy and Eric, their psychological evaluations tested Amy’s IQ at about 72, which places her in the "extremely low to borderline range of intelligence," and Eric’s IQ score of 66, placed him in the "mild range of intellectual disability." It is being reported that the average IQ is between 90 and 110.
The question really is what makes a parent capable of parenting? Can the state only look at a person level of intelligence as scored by a test?
The former volunteer with the state agency who oversaw visits with the couple and one of their son’s last June through August, Sherrene Hagenbach was quoted in the article stating:
They are saying they are intellectually incapable without any guidelines to go by. If we're going to get on that train, Bill Gates should take my children. There's always somebody better than us, so it's a very dangerous position to be in.
According to documents in the case, the state put their children in foster care because both parents had:
limited cognitive abilities that interfere with (their) ability to safely parent the child.
Once again remember there is no evidence that the children were neglected.
A national study estimates that somewhere between 40 and 80% of parents with intellectual disabilities lose their parental rights.
Should parents that score low on an IQ test without any evidence of neglect of their children, have those children removed from their custody and their parental rights terminated?
I believe we would be once again heading towards a slippery sloop if a score on an IQ was determined to be a legitimate reason for the state to remove children from parents’ custody and terminate their parental rights.