RE: Legislative Efforts to Protect the Adoption, Decision Making/Custody, And Parental Time/Visitation Rights of Blind Parents

Year: 
2013
Resolution Number: 
2013-02

RESOLUTION 2013-02
RE: Legislative Efforts to Protect the Adoption,
Decision Making/Custody, And Parental Time/Visitation Rights of Blind Parents

WHEREAS, the experiences of thousands of blind parents demonstrate that, using alternative techniques and strategies, blindness is not a barrier that prevents them from caring for, supervising, or teaching young children, and from assuring the safety of said children; and

WHEREAS, a parent's visual acuity is, given adequate training in the use of said alternatives, an insignificant factor in predicting the fitness of said parent's ability to act in the best interest of children under his/her care; and

WHEREAS, Those unfamiliar with the effectiveness of alternative techniques often believe that the tasks of caring for and supervising children inherently require vision and, out of concern for the safety of said children, attempt to deny blind parents, prospective adoptive parents, or guardians the rights and responsibilities of caring for said children; and

WHEREAS, Although no studies or statistics show abnormalities of children reared by blind parents, blind parents are scrutinized more closely and more frequently judged to be unfit than sighted parents in similar circumstances; and

WHEREAS, Sighted parents and their attorneys have, whether out of misplaced concern or as part of an exploitation of ancient doubts and fears about blindness, falsely asserted that children in the custody of, or unsupervised visitation with, said blind parents are unsafe; and

WHEREAS, intervention occurs more frequently, not because of documented problems, but because judges and social workers fear problems may arise in the future; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Economic Security and Child and Protective Services are responsible for protecting children and determining the ability of an adult to care for a child; and

WHEREAS, blindness must not be equated with incapacity when judges make decisions regarding a child’s welfare: and

WHEREAS, without legislative guidance, courts have decided, and may continue to decide, that the loosely-defined "best interests of the child" require that decision making/child custody and/or supervision be awarded based primarily according to visual acuity; NOW, THEREFORE;

BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona in convention assembled this 15th day of September, 2013 in the city of Tucson, Arizona, that this organization seek the enactment of legislation in Arizona that prevents the denial of adoption, decision making/custody or unsupervised parental time/visitation to a parent or guardian based solely on the blindness of said parent or guardian.

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