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Obesity a child custody issue for one Ohio family

Parents in Ohio who have faced child custody decisions or disputes know how complex such cases can be. Courts take many things into consideration when deciding who will be awarded custody of a child. Recently, child obesity has become a deciding factor in whether a parent is awarded custody -- or, as in a recent case, loses custody.

As some Columbus residents may have read about, a young boy from Cleveland was removed from the care of his mother recently because the county's Children and Family Services agency felt his weight posed a threat to his health. He just turned 9 years old and weighs close to 200 pounds.

The child was placed in foster care initially, but in a recent court hearing, a judge ruled that the boy would move in with his uncle -- his mother's brother. He will be allowed to spend a week with his mother for Christmas. A representative of Children and Family Services said the living situation would hopefully be temporary, as the goal was to help him reach a healthy weight and return him to his mother.

Although some people clearly felt that removing the boy from the care of his mother was in his best interests, others were not so supportive. A person who spoke on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said this case could set a bad precedent for similar cases in the future. He said taking the child from his home violated the boy's civil right to be raised by his mother. Hopefully Ohio courts will be able to find a solution that best suits the best interests of the young boy.

Source: USA Today, "Ohio boy who weighed 200 pounds to live with uncle," Dec. 15, 2011

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