[nfb-talk] Parents Rights Legislation Passes in Maryland

Michael Bullis mabullis at hotmail.com
Sun Apr 12 19:19:08 UTC 2009

Greetings fellow federationists:
This week, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 689.  The Bill states that, for people who are blind or otherwise disabled, disability may not be considered in adoption, custody, visitation, or cases of State intervention, unless the Court finds actual evidence that the disability effects the best interests of the child.

As many of you know, we have had a series of cases over the years in which would-be adopting parents or parents in divorce situations are required to prove that they are competent parents.  Unlike others, people who are blind have been assumed to be incompetent rather than competent.  This Legislation goes a long way toward turning this process around.  In the future, social service agencies or plaintiffs will have to introduce actual evidence of incompetence and will have to prove that that evidence is detrimental to the child.  Instead of the person with a disability being required to prove competence, the person making the charge will have to prove incompetence.
Unfortunately, all family law is controlled within each State, so, we have a long way to go.  Most States don't have protections for parents with disabilities.  If you or your affiliate would like more information or would like to begin the process of investigating to see what might be helpful in your State, please contact me:
Mike Bullis
email:mabullis at hotmail.com

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