The feeling of having a child taken away by some faceless entity who deems the parent as a detriment to the child’s well being must be an unnerving one. An Ohio mother’s 200-pound eight-year-old son was recently placed into Foster Care due to “medical neglect” on the part of the mother, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.
The fact the boy weighs 200 pounds at such a young age is an undisputable problem; the mother has stated so herself in her interview with the newspaper. The issue deals with the question of whether or not state government should remove children from their families as they see fit.
In most cases, the government is well within its rights to remove custody of a child from parents who are causing direct harm.
However, in this particular case, there does not seem to be any direct harm being done to the child. In fact, officials told the paper that they only began to take notice of the situation when the mother took her son to the hospital after noticing he was having breathing problems.
If the mother was truly neglectful, it is doubtful she would have bothered to have a professional diagnose her son. Instead of removing custody of the son outright, there are a number of solutions that should have been employed beforehand.
For example, the state could have provided the mother with financial care to seek the aide of medical professionals dealing in obesity.
At the very least, more effort should have been put into researching the family to determine whether or not the mother was being neglectful, as there could be something abnormal about the son’s body that is not the direct outcome of the mother’s child-rearing.
The mother actually tells the newspaper that she has spent time encouraging the son to exercise.
Obesity is a labor-intensive, time-consuming problem that needs to be resolved in an even-handed manner. Removing the emotional center of this child’s life completely destroys this balance and can easily escalate the problem.
To make matters worse, a custody hearing is being held next month on the child’s birthday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
While there was definitely cause for intervention, the government should not have had to separate the child from the parent to do so.