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Old 07-13-2011, 05:59 PM   #1
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Should parents lose custody of obese children?

DEBATE: Should Government Remove Children From Families If They Become Obese? Fox News Insider

On the table during a debate on Wednesday was the issue of childhood obesity and at what point, if any, the government should step in and remove a minor from his or her family. It’s a question at the center of not only health concerns but also increasing worries of a future “police state” if such an intervention were to come to fruition.
Meme Roth, of the National Action Against Obesity, said without hesitation that enabling obesity constitutes child abuse. But her counterpart, marriage and family therapist Karen Ruskin disagreed. “I find it extremely disturbing that in our generation we seek out detachment, that we seek out government, in order to try to take the child out [of the family] instead of treating the unit,” she said.
On the contrary, Ruskin said the goal should be to pair the government up with the family, doctors, nutritionists and the like before resorting to stripping the child from his/her home. “It’s extremely traumatic to the child,” Ruskin said.
This begs the question, however, where is the line drawn? Who then should call child protective services, and at what point in a child’s battle with weight issues?
“If you saw a child that was underfed and you didn’t call CPS, that wouldn’t be acceptable,” Roth said. She argues that it shouldn’t be any different in the case of an overweight minor.


Kind of a scary road to go down, if you ask me....
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Old 07-13-2011, 06:26 PM   #2
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I started a thread closely related to this a couple years back...

Mother Jailed For Allowing Teenager To Reach 555 Lbs.

...which might be a useful example of the kinds of extreme cases we're probably talking about here, since the Fox article doesn't offer any. Severely obese children, like the boy in that article, are children with serious psychological and physical problems who urgently need help, and when it becomes evident to officials that their families are consistently failing to address that, then I don't find it unreasonable or scary for child protection services to step in. One could certainly debate (preferably on a case-by-case basis) what forms of intervention are truly in the best interests of the child, but as the case above illustrates, gentle finger-shaking from pediatricians isn't always going to do the trick.
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Old 07-13-2011, 07:54 PM   #3
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To me, the only scary part about it, is that it most likely wouldn't end with 555 Lbs. kids. Sure, it would start there, but what would the limit be? Kids verging on death from obesity? Kids who are 20% over weight (which i believe is the actual definition of obesity)? Kids who are starting to get bit a chubby?
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Old 07-14-2011, 08:51 AM   #4
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I'm willing to bet money that it wouldn't stop with kids who are 'getting a little chubby'.

Frankly, all divergence must be crushed.
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Old 07-14-2011, 10:49 AM   #5
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I don't think this is realistic. First, there is not enough support or good foster care available currently for kids that are being physically, sexually, psychologically abused. Where will CPS put these kids? Second, as much as I despise bad parenting I don't think the best solution is always to remove the kid. That is just a band-aid solution, it does not provide education for the parents or the children. Now, maybe in some extreme cases, what parents are encouraging or forcing already fits under a legal definition of abuse or neglect and I am fine with those children being removed.
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:02 AM   #6
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I think its extreme for parents to lose custody of their obese children. I know obesity is a serious issue today, but what's next? Firing or refusing to hire an obese person? Arresting someone for being unable to fit through the doorway?

BTW, what do they do about the parents of children with anorexia? If a school sees a girl all skin and bones, do they contact the authorities then?
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Old 07-14-2011, 11:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
I don't think this is realistic. First, there is not enough support or good foster care available currently for kids that are being physically, sexually, psychologically abused...Now, maybe in some extreme cases, what parents are encouraging or forcing already fits under a legal definition of abuse or neglect and I am fine with those children being removed.
This is why I don't see slippery slope concerns being an issue here. Child protection workers are trained professionals who spend their days working with the absolute worst of the worst (often in triage mode, e.g. which kids are we worried might be dead next month if a case worker doesn't make it out there this month); they don't take custody based on gut feelings, paranoia, or whatever the trendy public-health cause of the moment is. In exceedingly rare, truly extreme cases like the one I linked to above, yes, possibly then, but I'm just not seeing some epidemic of draconian chubby-kid-snatching by the state developing. No different than with any other form of neglect, really.
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