One State Has Decided That Some Parents “Are Not Smart Enough” To Keep Their Children

Updated October 6, 2017

In Oregon, the state took children away from parents after they got a low score on an IQ test. 31-year-old Amy Fabbrini and 38-year-old Eric Ziegler had their children taken into foster care right after their youngest child was born in the hospital. The parents in Oregon are required to take an IQ test and prove that they are smart enough to be parents. And because Ziegler scored a low 66 and Fabbrini got a barely higher 72, the state took their children away from them. While the average person scores between 90-110, these Oregonian parents could not meet the standard. And other states are planning to follow in Oregon’s footsteps by checking parents’ IQ scores.

Although there was no evidence of domestic abuse or child neglect in the household, the state found it reasonable to remove the two children from Fabbrini and Ziegler. Although the parents will be granted visitation rights, the state has deemed them “too stupid” to be able to care for the children.

Because of how the state took away custody of their children, the couple has begun a legal battle to get their kids back. But the state stands by their ruling that the parents were not intelligent enough to give the children good lives.

And the state pointed to evidence to back up their IQ tests. For example, Fabbrini did not know she was pregnant until she was deep within the third trimester while pregnant with her first son, Christopher.

Because she was ignorant to her pregnancy, she never received a formal examination or any treatment until her ninth month. She went into advanced labor at her family’s home and gave birth there on September 9, 2013.

Meanwhile, her partner, Eric Ziegler has been taking home checks from Social Security and Supplemental Security Income program because he was diagnosied with a mental disability.

Social Services took the parent’s children and sent them into foster care right after, their second baby, Hunter, was born.

A relative of the low-IQ couple complained to authorities when they were concerned that baby Christopher was not being cared for well. Child welfare services came and found that Ziegler had “sleeping with the baby on the floor and almost rolled over on him.”

Fabbrini’s father, Raymond, and his wife have been forced into the primary caregiver role because their daughter failed to possess the “instincts to be a mother.”

The state gave the two parents IQ tests. Ziegler’s score put him in the mild “intellectual disability” range while Fabbrini earned herself an “extremely low to borderline range of intelligence.”

While Ziegler receives government benefits, Fabbrini has a job as a grocery store employee.

Sherrene Hagenbach is advocating for the couple as a board member of Healthy Families of the High Desert. Hagenbach fears that putting Christopher and Hunter up for adoption could be bad for the family.

“They are saying they are intellectually incapable without any guidelines to go by,” Hagenbach 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.”

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