Child custody case focused on parental intelligence, not abuse

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Thursday, August 10, 2017.

When a child is removed from the care of the parents, there is usually very good reason for that set of circumstances. Most often, there is serious evidence of abuse or neglect that led to the decision. In many cases, the parents were given ample opportunity to make changes that would allow them to get their kids back. There are child custody cases in Missouri and elsewhere, however, in which the decision to remove a child from his or her home is difficult to comprehend.

An example lies in a case where two young children were removed from the care of their parents based on concerns over the level of intelligence displayed by the parents. State authorities made a determination that the parents had “limited cognitive abilities” and were unable to provide a safe home for their children. The kids were placed into foster care, and have subsequently been made available for adoption.

The mother tested at an IQ level of around 72, while the father tested at around 66 and receives Social Security disability checks for a mental disability. Both of those levels are below what is considered to be the “normal” range of 90 to 110. It should be noted, however, that mental health advocates assert that people with mental disabilities can be loving and safe parents, and have every right to raise their own children.

In making the decision to remove the kids, the state found no evidence of abuse or neglect, which is notable. It appears that the decision was made based on concerns about what might have happened to place the kids at risk, rather than on actual evidence of dangerous conditions. That has led many to cry foul about the case, and led to comparisons to the eugenics movement of the early 20th century. For those in Missouri who are facing a child custody fight with the state, cases such as this highlight the importance of taking an aggressive approach.

Source:, “This couple may have lost custody of their kids because they weren’t smart enough“, Eric Schulzke, July 31, 2017

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