An Oregon family whose children were removed from their home earlier this year due to their "limited cognitive abilities" have received some good news this holiday season: the State of Oregon has returned one of their two children to their home.
As TheBlaze reported in August, the state of Oregon alleges that Amy Fabbrini and Eric Ziegler suffer from cognitive impairment that makes them unfit to care for their two children. In an interview with Glenn Beck, Fabbrini said that her son Christopher was taken into state custody nearly four years ago, and her son Hunter was taken from her just two days after he was born.
According to OregonLive, Fabbrini has an IQ of about 72, and Ziegler's is about 66. They both have high school diplomas and they live in a house owned by Ziegler's parents. In order to prove their fitness as parents, they have taken classes on "parenting, first aid, CPR and nutrition" since their legal ordeal began.
The trouble began when Ziegler's former roommate filed a complaint with Child Protective Services alleging that Ziegler was neglecting Christopher. Fabbrini's father also filed a complaint that Fabbrini says was motivated by anger that she had moved in with Ziegler. The couple denies all allegations of neglect or abuse, and a professional mediator who oversaw supervised visits with the children argued that the home was a loving environment and that the children should be returned to their parents.
Now, Fabbrini and Ziegler have received some good news: a judge has ruled that 10-month-old Hunter can return home, and that the parents' cognitive deficits do not make them unfit to parent.
In explaining her decision, Circuit Judge Bethany Flint explained, "I feel the threat articulated to Hunter is fairly amorphous... There is no allegation that they're not able to meet his basic needs."
However, Flint ruled that since 4-year-old Christopher has developmental hurdles of his own, he cannot be returned to the care of Fabbrini and Ziegler. The couple will return to court on Jan. 9 for further hearings on the termination of their parental rights for Christopher.
During the course of the trial, the state called 40 witnesses who testified for 11 days about Fabbrini and Ziegler's alleged deficiencies as parents. Much of the testimony clearly troubled Flint. According to OregonLive, Flint remarked at one point, "I found it difficult to read that these parents tried this thing and tried that thing and then they are advised that instead of chicken nuggets they should have boiled chicken breast, that giving fried foods is a parenting deficiency. That was hard to read."
Flint was also clearly troubled by the fact that, according to OregonLive, they were sometimes criticized for asking too many questions, and at other times for not asking enough questions. According to Flint, "They can't win for losing... whenever they do say things they are attacked for them, which could create a culture of silence around the parents as well."