Bill Text: IL HB2626 | 2017-2018 | 100th General Assembly | Enrolled

Bill Title: Creates the Parental Rights for the Blind Act. Contains statements of legislative findings and purpose. Defines terms. Provides that a person's blindness shall not serve as a basis for denial or restriction of parenting time, the allocation of parental responsibilities, participation in adoption proceedings, foster care placement, or guardianship appointment. Provides that if a person's blindness is alleged to have a detrimental impact on a child, the party raising the allegation bears the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the blindness endangers or will likely endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the child. Provides that if the burden is met, the person with blindness shall have the opportunity to demonstrate that the implementation of supportive parenting services will alleviate any concerns that have been raised. Provides that the court may require that the supportive parenting services be put in place, with an opportunity to review the need for continuation of the services within a reasonable period of time. Provides that if a court determines that a blind person's parental rights should be denied or limited in any manner, the court shall make specific written findings stating the basis for such a determination and why the provision of supportive parenting services is not a reasonable accommodation that must be made to prevent such denial or limitation.

Spectrum: Strong Partisan Bill (Democrat 17-1)

Status: (Enrolled) 2017-06-16 - Sent to the Governor [HB2626 Detail]

Download: Illinois-2017-HB2626-Enrolled.html

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1 AN ACT concerning civil law.
2 Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
4 Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Parental Rights for the Blind Act.
6 Section 5. Findings. The General Assembly finds that:
7 (1) blind individuals continue to face unfair,
8 preconceived, and unnecessary societal biases as well as
9 antiquated attitudes regarding their ability to
10 successfully parent their children;
11 (2) blind individuals face these biases and
12 preconceived attitudes in family and dependency law
13 proceedings in which the allocation of parental
14 responsibilities and parenting time are at stake and in
15 public and private adoption, guardianship, and foster care
16 proceedings;
17 (3) because of these societal biases and antiquated
18 attitudes, children of blind parents are unnecessarily
19 being removed from their parents' care or being restricted
20 from enjoying meaningful time with their parents; and
21 (4) children are being denied the opportunity to enjoy
22 the experience of living in loving homes with blind parents
23 or other blind caregivers.

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1 Section 10. Purpose. The purpose of this Act is to protect
2the best interests of children cared for or parented by blind
3individuals or children who could be cared for or parented by
4blind individuals through the establishment of procedural
5safeguards that require adherence to the Americans with
6Disabilities Act and respect for the due process and equal
7protection rights of blind parents or prospective blind parents
8in the context of child welfare, foster care, family law, and
10 Section 15. Definitions. As used in this Act:
11 "Blindness" means central visual acuity of 20/200 or less
12in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. An eye
13that has a limitation in the field of vision so that the widest
14diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than
1520 degrees is considered to have a central visual acuity of
1620/200 or less. "Blindness" includes a degenerative condition
17that reasonably can be expected to result in blindness.
18 "Supportive parenting services" means services that assist
19a person with blindness in the effective use of non-visual
20techniques and other alternative methods to enable the person
21to discharge parental responsibilities as successfully as a
22person who does not have blindness.
23 Section 20. Prohibitions; burden of proof.

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1 (a) A person's blindness shall not serve as a basis for
2denial or restriction of parenting time or the allocation of
3parental responsibilities if the parenting time or the
4allocation of parental responsibilities is determined to be
5otherwise in the best interests of the child.
6 (b) A person's blindness shall not serve as a basis for
7denial of participation in public or private adoption when the
8adoption is determined to be otherwise in the best interests of
9the child.
10 (c) A person's blindness shall not serve as a basis for
11denial of foster care or guardianship when the appointment is
12determined to be otherwise in the best interests of the child.
13 (d) The Department of Children and Family Services shall
14develop and implement procedures that ensure and provide equal
15access to child welfare services, programs, and activities in a
16nondiscriminatory manner. Services, programs, and activities
17include, but are not limited to, investigations, assessments,
18provision of in-home services, out-of-home placements, case
19planning and service planning, visitation, guardianship,
20adoption, foster care, and reunification services. Such
21services, programs, and activities may also extend to
22proceedings under the Juvenile Court Act and proceedings to
23terminate parental rights. The Department of Children and
24Family Services shall provide training to child welfare
25investigators and caseworkers on these procedures.
26 (e) If the court determines that the right of a person with

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1blindness to the allocation of parental responsibilities,
2parenting time, foster care, guardianship, or adoption should
3be denied or limited in any manner, the court shall make
4specific written findings stating the basis for such a
5determination and why supportive parenting services cannot
6prevent the denial or limitation.