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AN ACT concerning civil law.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
This Act may be cited as the
Parental Rights for the Blind Act.
The General Assembly finds that:
(1) blind individuals continue to face unfair,
preconceived, and unnecessary societal biases as well as
antiquated attitudes regarding their ability to
successfully parent their children;
(2) blind individuals face these biases and
preconceived attitudes in family and dependency law
proceedings in which the allocation of parental
responsibilities and parenting time are at stake and in
public and private adoption, guardianship, and foster care
(3) because of these societal biases and antiquated
attitudes, children of blind parents are unnecessarily
being removed from their parents' care or being restricted
from enjoying meaningful time with their parents; and
(4) children are being denied the opportunity to enjoy
the experience of living in loving homes with blind parents
or other blind caregivers.
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The purpose of this Act is to protect
the best interests of children cared for or parented by blind
individuals or children who could be cared for or parented by
blind individuals through the establishment of procedural
safeguards that require adherence to the Americans with
Disabilities Act and respect for the due process and equal
protection rights of blind parents or prospective blind parents
in the context of child welfare, foster care, family law, and
As used in this Act:
"Blindness" means central visual acuity of 20/200 or less
in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. An eye
that has a limitation in the field of vision so that the widest
diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than
20 degrees is considered to have a central visual acuity of
20/200 or less. "Blindness" includes a degenerative condition
that reasonably can be expected to result in blindness.
"Supportive parenting services" means services that assist
a person with blindness in the effective use of non-visual
techniques and other alternative methods to enable the person
to discharge parental responsibilities as successfully as a
person who does not have blindness.
Prohibitions; burden of proof.
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(a) A person's blindness shall not serve as a basis for
denial or restriction of parenting time or the allocation of
parental responsibilities if the parenting time or the
allocation of parental responsibilities is determined to be
otherwise in the best interests of the child.
(b) A person's blindness shall not serve as a basis for
denial of participation in public or private adoption when the
adoption is determined to be otherwise in the best interests of
(c) A person's blindness shall not serve as a basis for
denial of foster care or guardianship when the appointment is
determined to be otherwise in the best interests of the child.
(d) The Department of Children and Family Services shall
develop and implement procedures that ensure and provide equal
access to child welfare services, programs, and activities in a
nondiscriminatory manner. Services, programs, and activities
include, but are not limited to, investigations, assessments,
provision of in-home services, out-of-home placements, case
planning and service planning, visitation, guardianship,
adoption, foster care, and reunification services. Such
services, programs, and activities may also extend to
proceedings under the Juvenile Court Act and proceedings to
terminate parental rights. The Department of Children and
Family Services shall provide training to child welfare
investigators and caseworkers on these procedures.
(e) If the court determines that the right of a person with
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blindness to the allocation of parental responsibilities,
parenting time, foster care, guardianship, or adoption should
be denied or limited in any manner, the court shall make
specific written findings stating the basis for such a
determination and why supportive parenting services cannot
prevent the denial or limitation.