Published on Mommy Tracked (http://www.mommytracked.com)

Did Social Workers Cross the Line?

A 200-pound 8-year-old who was removed [1] from his family's home by Ohio social workers has sparked a heated national debate over whether or not authorities overstepped.


“Authorities claim the child’s weight gain was caused by his environment and that the mother wasn’t following doctor’s orders - an allegation the mother disputes,” MSNBC reported [2].


According to spokeswoman [3] for the Ohio Department of Children and Family Services, “this child’s problem was so severe that we had to take custody,” adding that officials had been in contact with the family for some time. The third grader was subsequently placed in a foster home.


But many are criticizing the move. A University of Pennsylvania professor of bioethics and medical ethics told reporters [4] that: “A 218-pound 8-year-old is a time bomb. But the government cannot raise these children. A third of kids are fat. We aren’t going to remove them all to foster care. We can’t afford it, and I’m not sure there are enough foster parents to do it.”


Over on a Washington Post blog [5], writer Sarah Kliff asked, “. . . [H]ow much do parents influence their children’s weight?” “Researchers don’t have a simple answer to that question,” Kliff wrote, “but they have learned that much of a parent’s influence on childhood obesity has to do with genetics rather than environment.” 

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