Oregon Senate passes bill to protect parental rights

After Redmond couple's long fight to regain sons

SALEM, Ore. - In the wake of a high-profile Redmond custody fight, the Oregon Senate voted Friday to pass Senate Bill 1526 A, which prohibits the courts and the Oregon Department of Human Services from removing a child from their parents' care based solely on a parent's disability.

The bill was introduced by the Senate Committee on Human Services and has bipartisan support, according to state Sen. Tim Knopp, who brought the measure forward amid the case of a Redmond couple's recently successful, four-year fight to regain custody of their two sons, now 4 years and 10 months old.

The state had placed the children of Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler in foster care over concerns that they were intellectually incapable of properly caring for their children, though no abuse was alleged.

"I believe I was elected to provide equality of opportunity and equal justice for all," Knopp said in a news release. "This bill is an important step towards ensuring parents of all abilities have equal justice."

The bill would prevent an emotional illness, mental illness, intellectual or developmental disability, or other disability from being the sole reason to place a child under the state's jurisdiction, if the court does not find any additional conduct or conditions that are seriously detrimental to the children.

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