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Can parents lose child custody rights over IQ testing results?

Most Maryland parents assume that if they provide a safe and loving home for their kids, then their parental rights will never be challenged by the state. In fact, the vast majority of parents give absolutely no thought to having to battle the state for the right to raise their own child. In reality, however, there are cases in which parents have their rights stripped for reasons that are highly questionable to most. An example is found in a case where a couple has lost child custody rights to two children based on their perceived intelligence.

The case centers on a mother who tested at an IQ level of 72, which is considered extremely low. The father tested at an IQ level of just 66, which signifies a mild level of intellectual disability. Both of those scores are significantly lower than the average IQ for adults, which falls between 90 and 110.

What makes this case unique is that a decision was made to remove a child from his parents' care without any indication of abuse or neglect. In fact, the child was removed before the family even left the hospital. That same fate fell upon their older son. Now, both boys have been made available for adoption, despite having two parents who have fought long and hard for the right to raise them.

For many Maryland parents, this child custody outcome is simply unacceptable. While the state certainly has an obligation to look after the well-being of children, it should not have the right to determine that a parent is unfit before that individual has had an opportunity to prove parental fitness. Taking such a stance threatens the parental rights of not only the intellectually challenged, but of all parents across the nation.

Source: palmbeachpost.com, "LATEST: Parents lose custody of kids due to low IQ," Chelsea Todaro, Aug. 1, 2017

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