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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ohio Third Grader Removed By State Officials Because of His Weight

Last month, authorities in Ohio removed a nine year-old third grader from his home because of his weight. Last year the mother took the boy to a local hospital to seek a cure for his sleep apnea and that's when authorities became aware of his weight. According to social workers on the case, they worked with the family for about a year before making the decision to remove the child from his mother's care, after he had successfully lost a few pounds but gained them back.

The child weighed over 200 pounds.

He is now in foster care.

Much discussion took place about the rights of parents versus the rights of the state, but then the story faded away.

I don't claim to have knowledge sufficient to make a judgement in this case but I am curious about a few things:
  1. What are the qualifications of the social workers who made the decision to remove the boy from his home?
  2. What are their backgrounds and personal histories? Have they comported themselves in their lives in such a way that gives them the gravitas to make such important decisions about the lives of others?
  3. What is the history of the foster family that is now taking care of him? Are they better people than the child's own mother, and who exactly made that judgement?
  4. Is the State going to remain responsible for the boy's potential pyschiatric needs as well as those of the mother? Years later, when the unseen psychological damage this is may be causing the boy comes to light, will the social workers on the case be interested in helping him, or will they claim he is of age so he is not their responsibility?
  5. What emotional support is the state providing the mother?
  6. Does the boy have a predisposition to obesity? If so, is it genetic?
  7. Is the state right to intervene on a child's behalf because of potential health problems in the future?
I'm afraid too often we ask the wrong questions.

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