Hours after Marco and Adelina Zepeda gave birth to their healthy seven-pound son, Rivaldo, San Mateo County, California Child Protective Services attempted to remove the infant from his parents and place him in foster care while they began an investigation of the family’s fitness as parents. Marco and Adelina Zepeda are individuals who are blind.
After DREDF intervened, and the American Council of the Blind and its State affiliate, the California Council of the Blind, as well as numerous other disability advocacy organizations advocated for the Zepedas, the County closed its investigation and concluded that the infant’s referral to foster care was unfounded and agreed that there would be no additional contact by Children and Family Services related to the referral. The County agreed to expunge records related to the case and implement a training program.
The American Council of the Blind and its State affiliate, the California Council of the Blind, as well as numerous other disability advocacy organizations all over the country worked tirelessly after Child Protective Services made its first attempt to intervene by having the Zepedas relinquish their new-born son into foster care. The Zepedas story brought public attention to the kind of blatant discrimination and stereotype that many parents with disabilities are subjected to when they choose to exercise their right to have and care for their children. San Mateo County’s reversal was confirmation of the Zepedas’ rights and capabilities as parents, and is a victory for the civil rights of all persons with disabilities.