A Canadian couple just lost their sixth child to Child Protective Services.
They haven’t abandoned, abused or neglected any of their children.
They haven’t had the chance. Each child has been taken into protective custody shortly after birth.
It hasn’t been because the parents are in jail. Or drug addicts. Or alcoholics. Or abusers.
Or any of the other usual reasons.
It’s because they aren’t intelligent enough to raise children – maybe.
The Mother is borderline mentally retarded. They both had poor upbringings that left them facing serious challenges.
But it really isn’t clear that they are incapable of rearing the family they desperately want.
While one parenting evaluator gave them both a thumbs down, another thought that they could do it together, especially with in-home support services.
Services extended to many other parents who have an actual history of abandonment, abuse and/or neglect.
Yet this couple hasn’t been given a chance to parent – and barely a chance to have contact with the children taken from them.
Even though they’ve taken parenting classes, offered to share parenting with a third party that doesn’t share their challenges and have generally successfully challenged various allegations by the government.
Even a couple of judges seem to think they might be able to pull it off.
But the law, which applies to some one and one-half million Canadians, apparently doesn’t permit those judges to follow their instincts.
There’d probably be a lot fewer parents raising families if every parent who wanted to have a family had to undergo a parental capacity assessment.
There’d probably even be some very surprising assessment results.
One has to wonder about the disparate treatment that raises a de facto presumption that children should be taken from the mildly mentally handicapped at birth, but only removed from other parents after they have already actually abandoned, abused and/or neglected their children.