Update: Judge Rules Low IQ Oregon Parents Can Take Youngest Son Home
The Oregon parents who had their two children removed from their home—due to their low IQ—have finally received some good news.
Just four days before Christmas Day last year, Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler were reunited with their 10-month-old son, Hunter, who was returned to them after a judge ruled that the couple’s limited cognitive abilities did not mean they were unfit as parents.
Hunter had been living in foster care since his birth, according to the Oregonian.
NTD.tv previously reported the couple lost their sons after Fabbrini’s father started warning the state’s child welfare department of “issues.” The father, Raymond Fabbrini, said he never had a good or close relationship with his daughter, calling her a lazy child.
Circuit Judge Bethany Flint ruled that the state could not prove why their son should remain in the Oregon Department of Human Services.
“I feel the threat articulated to Hunter is fairly amorphous,” Flint said. “I searched and searched for some sort of language that was provided to articulate what the current threat of harm is to Hunter right now. … There is no allegation that they’re not able to meet his basic need,” according to the Oregonian.
Later this month, the couple will return to court to try and get their parental rights for their other, older son, 4-year-old Christopher. Christopher has also been in foster care since days after his birth.
But the judge said that Christopher’s case was not the same as Hunters.
“(Christopher) is not a regular child … that is going to just do great with a lot of love and support,” Flint said. “While these parents have learned a lot and are asking a lot of questions, appropriate questions, … Christopher is different than Hunter right now.”
According to the Oregonian, Christopher is diagnosed with developmental hurdles that the judge was not fully convinced the parents understood.
Psychological evaluation documents show Fabbrini, 31, had scored an IQ of 72, placing her in the “extremely low to borderline range of intelligence,” while her 38-year-old husband, Ziegler, scored an IQ of 66 placing him in the “mild range of intellectual disability.”
During the recent court battle, three attorneys for the state called around 40 witnesses over an 11-day trial testimony to argue that the couple was unfit to safely parent.
“Limited cognitive abilities or lower IQ numbers do have an impact on people,” deputy district attorney Jason Kropf said. “It impacts judgment ability, it impacts insight, it impacts problem identification, it impacts planning and how to solve those problems and also impacts the notion of whether somebody knows whether a problem is fixed or not,” the Oregonian reported.
The state gave examples of the parent’s alleged deficiencies including how: they didn’t read to the child, they forgot to put sunscreen on the baby’s arms, their home smelled of dog, and that their choice of snacks was criticized.
But the attorney’s arguments failed to persuade the judge who called it a “chicken nugget case.”
“I will affectionately remember this case as the ‘chicken nugget case,'” Flint said. “I found it difficult to read that these parents tried this thing and tried that thing and then they are advised that instead of chicken nuggets they should have boiled chicken breast, that giving fried foods is a parenting deficiency. That was hard to read.”
According to the newspaper, Fabbrini began to cry as she left the courtroom on Thursday, Dec. 21. One of the boy’s court-appointed special advocates also cried.
But both children’s advocates believe that keeping the boys with their foster families is in the children’s best interest, adding that the older son Christoper has developed a strong attachment to his foster parents, the Oregonian reported.
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