A man from Detroit Lakes, Minn., regained parental rights to his young daughter Monday when the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that those rights had been wrongfully terminated based solely on his mental impairment.
The court ruled that there was no evidence that the father’s intellectual impairment interfered with his ability to be part of a parent-child relationship. It also noted that Becker County District Court had failed to find that child protection had undertaken reasonable efforts to reunite the man with his 2½-year-old child.
While the ruling does not mean the child will live with her father full-time, it upholds his identity and rights as her father, including his access to her.
“He was overjoyed with the ruling,” said Tim Dodd, the man’s attorney. “The case stands for the proposition that a parent ought to have a chance. It’s all he ever wanted.”
In the ruling, Judge Larry Stauber wrote that the Appeals Court couldn’t find any cases affirming the termination of parental rights based only on a parent’s mental impairment.
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