Obese Child Removed By CPS Returned After Losing Weight

The obese child removed from his mother’s care last fall after Child Protective Services in Ohio said that she had not done enough to get the boy to lose weight has been returned to her custody after losing 50 lbs. in foster care.

The boy was not named in the press due to the sensitive nature of child protection cases, but the case became highly controversial after it brought to the forefront several issues at play in a nation where one in three children is obese or overweight. The child reportedly weighed 200 lbs. at the age of nine, and efforts on the part of his mother to reduce his weight were not successful.

Unfortunately for the child and his family, the agency was able to use broad ranging “medical neglect” charges to keep him in the care of a stranger for several months. Not only did the boy not lose much weight at all at first, but his foster mother- who was held to a lower standard of “medical neglect” than his biological mother- admitted that she hadn’t bothered to bring the boy to all scheduled medical appointments, making the trauma of removing the 9-year-old from his home all the more stark in contrast to the damage caused by such a drastic measure.

At the time of the controversial removal, Child Protective Services defended the decision because they are not answerable to anyone as “so severe that we had to take custody,” but now, six months after the removal, a judge has reunited the family for good after the child lost 50 lbs. However, the weight loss did not occur in the home of the foster mother, and the child was again removed to the care of an uncle.

Back in March, the child’s mother received supervised custody of her son in court, but that restriction was also lifted. After the decision, a lawyer for the boy’s mother expressed relief that the family was finally free of CPS intervention, but lamented the county’s decision to take the most traumatic action available to all involved in the presence of other options:

“We’ve had reservations from the beginning that this was ill-advised action on the part of the county. There were lots of support services that were available, the county could have taken advantage of, but it is what it is.”

The child’s mother is also said to have obtained steady employment in the time her son was in foster care (she was a substitute teacher at the time her son was removed), prompting the question of whether the family ever actually had access to services appropriate for such a complex problem as childhood obesity in the first place.

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