Back in March of 2010, social workers were alerted to a seven-year-old Ohio boy who was hospitalized for two weeks because of severe breathing problems. Medical officials believed that this was in some part the result of his weight and him not getting the appropriate amount of care at home. It was also specifically noted that his excessive weight gain was the byproduct of diet, not some other health-related issue.
After observing and monitoring the situation for 11 months, in October of 2011, the powers that be used a court order to remove him from his mother’s custody. He weighed 219 pounds when he was packed up and sent to live with an uncle in Columbus.
On April 23 of this year, that boy returned to supervised-custody with his mother. Finally, this past Thursday, Ohio juvenile court judge David Stucki ruled in favor of the mother’s petition to permanently restore the boy to her custody and close the youngster’s case with the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services. Representatives for the county did not bother appealing her motion.
The boy in question, now nine years old, currently weighs 177 pounds. (He weighed 166 pounds before he returned to his mother’s home, for what it's worth.)
When this case originally hit the newswire, it marked the first time that an Ohio child had ever been removed from a parent’s care as a result of weight issues. The whole incident, predictably, sparked a massive debate about the role of government as it pertains to parenting.
Does the government have the right to step in when a mother is allegedly completely screwing up a kid’s diet? If so, how much authority should it have over other parenting issues? On the other side of the spectrum, folks who were opposed to government intervention here had to wrestle with the idea of when a youngster’s health should supersede their personal beliefs about what sort of say anyone other than parents should have on how to raise children. It was a tough debate. One that's still going on in a lot of circles, actually.
Given the fact that everyone covering this story is waiting with bated breath to see if this kid’s health suddenly worsens now, it’s probably safe to say that this isn’t the last we’ve heard from any of the parties involved.
(Kudos to Yahoo)