An American couple who claim they lost custody of their two young sons because of their ‘limited cognitive abilities’ are fighting back. The only Court in the State of California to terminate parental rights is the Juvenile Court under the Welfare and Institutions Code.
Amy Fabbrini, 31, and Eric Ziegler, 38, had their first child, Christopher, removed from their home about four years ago, shortly after he was born.
Fabbrini says Christopher was taken by the state after a friend accused Ziegler of “not picking up on (the baby’s) cues.”
More recently, social services took away the couple’s newborn son, Hunter.
According to The Oregonian, psychological evaluations provided by the couple test Fabbrini’s IQ at about 72, placing her in the “extremely low to borderline range of intelligence.” Ziegler scored about 66, placing him in the “mild range of intellectual disability.”
The average IQ for adults is between 90 and 110.
“They’re thinking that because we have this disability, we can’t safely parent out children,” Fabbrini explained to the press.
“They are saying they are intellectually incapable without any guidelines to go by,” said Sherrene Hagenbach, a former volunteer with the state agency who oversaw visits with the couple and Christopher from last June through August.
“They’re saying that this foster care provider is better for the child because she can provide more financially, provide better education, things like that,” “If we’re going to get on that train, Bill Gates should take my children. There’s always somebody better than us, so it’s a very dangerous position to be in.”
While privacy laws make it impossible to know exactly why the children have been taken away, no signs of abuse or neglect by the parents have been found. Nonetheless, state services have moved to terminate the couple’s parental rights and make the boys available for adoption. Usually, the Juvenile court system finds under the Welfare and institutions Code a section that will apply to parents in order to terminate their rights.
“We’ve done everything and more than what they’ve asked us to,” Fabbrini said.
The couple reportedly took classes on parenting, first aid, CPR and nutrition in a bid to get their children back.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s good enough for them,” Ziegler added. “They’re saying, ‘Who would parent Christopher better, the foster parents or the parents?’ is basically what they’re going on.”
Fabbrini’s aunt, Lenora Turner, drives the couple to their visits with Hunter.
“I would describe [Fabbrini] as a strong person because she’s going through all this and most of the family turned their back on her,” Turner said. “She is a strong young lady, determined, and I’ve always seen that in her. When she had something in mind she was determined to make it happen.”
She says Fabbrini and Ziegler have loving visits with Hunter.
“I honestly don’t understand why they can’t have their children,” Turner said. “I go to the grocery store and I see other people with their children and they’re standing up in the grocery cart … and I think, how come they get to keep their children? How do they decide whose child they’re going to take and whose child can stay?”