When should authorities step in to remove a person’s children from them?
Typically, it’s in abuse situations, but the idea of what constitutes abuse varies from person to person. Many people apparently feel that having an overweight child may be grounds for removal.
A Scottish couple may lose custody of their four youngest children, ages 1-11, for being obese. If removed, the children will either be fostered without contact’ or adopted. The family has lived under the scrutiny of social services for three years in a government sponsored house so social workers could supervise all meals and impose rules for three months. They are not pleased with the progress of the children’s weight loss, and they say the next step is permanent removal from the family. Ironically, the couple also have three other teens who are not at risk of being removed only because they are too old to be adopted.
The idea of taking children away from loving parents (if they are that) is sick. For the record, the story leaves me wondering if there is something else going on here while the media focuses on the weight aspect to garner attention.
But let’s say there are no other signs of abuse, other than the poor eating habits of the family. The 12-year-old boy weighs 16 stone and his 11-year-old sister, 12 stone, which is 224 pounds and 168 pounds, respectively. While that is a lot and is probably technically considered obese (depending on the kids’ heights), is it really enough to demand removal from their homes?
I would say absolutely not. It’s not as if they are 200 pound toddlers. They are preteens with poor eating habits, which are most likely a result of their parents’ same issues. Surely, teaching the family how to eat and exercise would be a better choice than to take kids away from their parents. And if we are honest with ourselves and think back to everyone we’ve ever known since childhood, I think we’d agree that a LOT of kids, members of our own family and friends, who would qualify for that very standard if all obese children were removed from their parents.
Furthermore, overeating, like drinking, taking illegal drugs, taking prescription drugs, smoking, etc…. is an addiction. If anything, the parents and the kids should receive help in the form of education and support for their kids and themselves. They need to learn how to form a healthy relationship with food just as much as the kids do. And if we remove kids from households with uncontrolled eating, should we also remove kids from parents who smoke, too?
Since this family lives on public assistance, finances surely play a huge part as they do in many other societal woes. I highly doubt wealthy parents would have their kids removed.
While being obese as a child poses significant health problems, taking a child away from her parents and (adopting them out to others!) is simply no answer. It’s sick. That just leaves a child to suffer emotional and mental issues as a result of the trauma of leaving his family.
Shouldn’t mental and emotional health be a factor? How far should government go into parents’ business? What about kids who eat constant junk food but stay slim? What about kids who don’t get enough food? Should they be taken away too?