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Parenting with Disabilities

Parenting with Disabilities

-- November 29, 2016

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Story: Blind Parents See Child Taken Away

Parenting is a challenge for all of us. It can be even more daunting for people with disabilities. But whether they are affected by injury, disease, or birth abnormality, the greatest disability these parents face is that of our legal system to respect their rights to parent their child.

Fortunately, this is one disability that we can solve if we work together.

In 2010 the National Federation of the Blind went to work on behalf of a Missouri couple whose daughter had been taken at birth because both parents are blind. According to an NFB release, “The sole reason given by Missouri’s Department of Social Services [for the child’s removal] was that the couple was blind and could not properly care for Mikaela without the assistance of a sighted person twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.”

There was no accusation of abuse or neglect, and no wrongful intent of any kind on the part of the parents.

Thankfully, NFB’s involvement led the state of Missouri to drop the case and return the baby to her parents that July. By then, the girl was two months old.

NFB President Gary Wunder in the release lamented, “We can never give back the two months this family has lost, nor can we restore to [mother] Erika the joy of nursing her child that this separation has made impossible. What we can do is use their adversity to change the system that allowed this atrocity and educate the people who have mistakenly equated blindness with a lack of perception, intellect, and judgment.”

We are proud to partner with NFB in our efforts to pass the Parental Rights Amendment. Together we will ensure that “parental rights…shall not be denied or abridged on account of disability.”