An Oregon couple has lost custody of their two children because both were designated ‘not intelligent enough’ to care for them safely or properly.
Amy Fabbrini, 31, and Eric Ziegler, 38, are currently locked in a custody battle for their two young children, who have been taken away from them by social services.
The parents’ four-year heartbreak comes after they were dubbed ‘intellectually incapable’ of raising their children by The Department of Human Services in Redmond, Oregon.
The couple’s second child, Hunter, was acquired and fostered straight out of hospital. This came years after Fabbrini admitted she was unaware she was pregnant when she grew far into her third trimester with her now eldest son, Christopher.
Meanwhile, Fabbrini’s partner, Eric Ziegler, 38, was receiving financial aid through the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income program due to his diagnosis with a mental disability.
After taking a required IQ test, Ziegler scored a meagre 66 and Fabbrini a 72. The average IQ can range between 90-110.
Ziegler’s IQ score categorised him under the mild ‘intellectual disability’ range, while Fabbrini ‘extremely low to borderline range of intelligence’.
A relative initially expressed concern about the children’s welfare while in the care of Fabbrini and Ziegler.
At the time, Fabbrini’s parents were acting as the primary caregivers, because her father, Raymond, believed his daughter did not possess the ‘instincts to be a mother’.
The case has highlighted some questions regarding what makes a good parent in the eyes of the law and societal standards over who is fit to parent ‘properly’.
Fabbrini, who used to work as a grocer, told The Oregonian:
I love kids, I was raised around kids, my mom was a preschool teacher for 20-plus years, and so I’ve always been around kids.
That’s my passion. I love to do things with kids, and that’s what I want to do in the future, something that has to do with kids.
Sherrene Hagenbach, a board member of Healthy Families of the High Desert who knows the couple personally, said:
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.
No abuse or neglect has been found but child services have responded to both parents’ limited cognitive abilities by taking the children away, rather than building a support network.
Child services cannot comment on this case.