SB 1198: Blind Persons’ Rights; Adoption; Custody
This bill prohibits the restriction of custody, adoption, guardianship and fostering of a child based solely on an individual’s blindness. Specifically, the proposal:
Prohibits a court from making any of the following determinations/orders based solely on a person’s blindness – Refusing to certify prospective adoptive parent; Refusing to grant an adoption to the prospective adoptive parent; Authorizing removal of a child from the home; Refusing to allow visitation or reunification of the parent with a child; Refusing to appoint the individual as guardian of a minor
Prohibits a court from considering a parent’s blindness when determining parenting time or participation in legal decision-making (unless the court finds that additional specified circumstances exist)
Prohibits Department of Child Safety (DCS) from refusing to license a foster home based on blindness
Requires a party who alleges that a person’s blindness has a detrimental impact on a child to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the behavior endangers or is likely to endanger the health, safety or welfare of the child.
First sponsor: Sen. Barto
ADC Position: Support
Being a parent is a fundamental right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. ADC supports the rights of all persons with disabilities to become and remain parents regardless of disability.
The best interest of the child usually is to remain in the custody of, or have visitation with, natural parent(s), absent evidence of abuse and neglect.
Persons with visual disabilities face discrimination in the legal system regarding the care and custody of their children, based solely on their blindness (e.g., adult protective proceedings; denial of custody, adoption, or foster services). SB 1198 offers protection from such discrimination.