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New Law Lays Out Rights Of Blind Parents

Many blind parents say they have fallen prey to preconceived biases involving their children and their parenting capabilities. A new law in Illinois aims to address these concerns.

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It points out blindness of a parent can’t be used to determine custody of a child—or be used as a deciding factor in adoption or foster care proceedings. The new law emphasizes these already-established rights under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Deborah Kent Stein is with the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. She says the law will help raise awareness and prevent child welfare investigators from conducting faulty investigations.

“I have seen people go through terrible, emotional stress. Not only the parents but the children, when these kinds of questions arise and when families are investigated, and when children are afraid of being separated from their parents,” she said.

Kent Stein says her organization will work closely with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to implement trainings and resources for child welfare investigators, case workers, and even parents.

“There have been cases in Illinois and cases all over the country where parents who are blind have been—by our standards—targeted by lawyers and social service organizations, as being potentially unable to parent simply because they are blind.” 

Copyright 2017 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Daisy reports on various assignments for NPR Illinois. She graduated from the Public Affairs Reporting master’s degree program at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she spent time covering the legislative session for NPR Illinois' Illinois Issues. Daisy interned then researched for the Chicago Reporter. She obtained an associate degree in French language from Harry S Truman College and a bachelor's degree in communications from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Before coming to Springfield, Daisy worked in communication roles for several Chicago non-profits. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.
Daisy Contreras
Daisy reports on statehouse issues for our Illinois Issues project. She's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield. She graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with an associates degrees from Truman College. Daisy is from Chicago where she attended Lane Tech High School.