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Child custody determinations sometimes center on intelligence

There are a number of ways that Florida parents can lose custody of their children to the state. Abuse and neglect are the most common reasons why the authorities get involved and remove kids from their parents' care. There are child custody determinations around the nation, however, where kids are removed from their homes for reasons that fall far outside of matters of abuse or neglect. An example is found in the case of a family who are fighting to have their son returned to them after he was removed over concerns about the intelligence level of the parents.

The couple have been fighting the system for nearly four years, after the state took custody of their newborn son just hours after his birth. That decision was made based on an assessment that the parents have "limited cognitive abilities" that prevent them from providing adequate care for their child. The mother is believed to have an IQ level of around 72, and the father tested at around 66. Both of those IQ measures are well below what is considered average, which is 90 to 110.

The couple have a great deal of support on their side. One advocate for the family has been very outspoken about her interaction with the parents and their son. She claims that both parents have demonstrated good parenting skills while on supervised visits with the child, and that both are eager to bring him home to live with them. However, he remains in foster care, despite there being no signs of abuse or neglect.

It is also interesting that the mother has a set of 6-year-old twins from a previous marriage. Those children live with the couple, and there is no mention of any action on the part of the state to remove the twins from their home. That has led many people to question why the state insists that the couple are not able to safely parent their son, but are adequate caregivers for two older children. To readers in Florida and elsewhere, child custody determinations that focus on the intelligence level of the parents are extremely distressing.

Source: independent.com, "Couple lose custody of children because they have 'limited cognitive abilities'", Samuel Osborne, Aug. 1, 2017

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