What Does an IQ Have to Do with Parenting and Child Custody?

Does being smart on paper make someone a good parent? Should someone with intellectual disabilities be denied the right to be a parent? These are questions many parents across the country are asking since having their children taken away from them. What does one’s IQ have to do with parenting and child custody, and what can parents in Georgia do if it becomes an issue for them?

A couple in another state recently shared their story of losing both of their children to the foster care system after they were declared mentally incompetent to take care of them. With IQs below average, the state determined that the couple was ill prepared to parent their children properly. This decision came after a surprise birth and home inspection. The mother did not know she was pregnant and gave birth at home. The state did a home check before she and her partner could get everything they needed for the baby, so the child was taken from their custody.

When the couple had another child, the infant was taken from them just two days after his birth — due to the active custody case involving their other son. A welfare visit to their home showed the couple was prepared to bring the baby home, but it was still decided to put the child in the foster care system. The father of the children holds down a job, the couple has a place to live, and according to the couples advocate, there was no evidence of abuse or neglect. Their case is still pending. 

Parents with documented intellectual disabilities all across the country have had their children removed from their care and many have or are in the process of filing legal claims to get their children back. At the end of the day, being smart on paper does not mean someone will be a good parent — good parents come from all backgrounds. Those in Georgia who are in child custody disputes with the state can turn to an experienced family law attorney who may be able to help them as they fight for their rights to be parents.

Source: Inside Edition, “Parents With Intellectual Disabilities Share Heartbreak of Losing Custody of Their Children“, Deborah Hastings, Nov. 17, 2017

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