Child Placed in Foster Care … Over Failure to Lose Weight at Home

Mother has eight year old Son, who is an honor student actively engaged in his school community.

Son is overweight. Extremely.

Just under 220 pounds. Sixty of them gained in one year.

At least one doctor has characterized Son’s weight gain as “life threatening”.

Doctors have ruled out a medical reason for Son’s weight gain, concluding that it is “environmental”.

Ohio child welfare agency (Agency) intervenes due to Son’s sleep apnea.

Son is deemed to be at high risk of developing serious weight-related health conditions.

Son fails to lose weight after a year.

So … Agency removes Son from Mother’s care and places him in foster care.

Ohio juvenile dependency court rules that Mother has neglected Son’s medical care … because Son has not dropped any excess weight to speak of.

Mother and Son are granted one visit per week. For two hours.

An Ohio public defender reports that, by contrast, other Ohio parents have been allowed to keep custody of their children despite having serious drug abuse issues and having beaten their children.

Son has reportedly lost some weight in foster care. But his foster parents are reportedly struggling to keep up with Son’s medical care.

Mother is seeking to regain custody of Son.

Son is representative of the seventeen percent of American children who are obese.

The foster care system is already stretched thin serving children who are abandoned, abused and neglected as those terms are commonly understood.

While some in the medical community advocate placing children in foster care to combat extreme obesity, others reject such extreme measures based only on probability of children developing certain medical conditions, rather than actual diagnoses.

Proposals have been advanced to provide enhanced services to obese children and their families so that such obese children can remain in their homes. Arguably a more practical alternative from a societal perspective and a more palatable alternative from the families’ perspectives.

Read more in this Reuters article: 219-pound boy shows growing problem of extreme obesity and this Cleveland Plain Dealer piece: County places obese Cleveland Heights child in foster care.