HB2626 EngrossedLRB100 06188 HEP 16222 b

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.