Cleveland - An Ohio juvenile court judge removed a protective order on
Thursday in the case of a third-grader who was taken from his mother's
custody last October after he tipped the scales at 99kg.
court judge David Stucki ruled in favour of a mother's petition to
permanently restore the boy to her custody and to close the boy's case
with the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services.
workers were alerted to the child's medical situation in March 2010
when the boy, then 7-years-old, was hospitalised for two weeks with
severe breathing problems.
He was removed from his home by court
order in October 2011 after more than a year of supervision, and was
eventually sent to live with an uncle in Columbus until 23 April when he
returned to supervised-custody with his mother.
The boy is now 9-years-old and weighs 78kg, up from a low of 75kg before he returned to his mother's home.
for the county did not fight the mother's motion for the return of her
son in court on Thursday, and the Department of Children and Family
Services now has no legal rights or responsibilities as to the boy's
"It is the right
thing to do at this time. The best interest of the child has been
protected and supported. The system worked," Stucki told attorneys after
making his ruling.
American Civil Liberties Union attorney James
Hardiman, who represented the mother, told the judge that since
returning to Cleveland the boy has received a free membership to a local
YMCA, a Big Brother assignment through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters
programme and the county will pay for half of the cost of weekly cooking
classes for his family.
"We are happy the county terminated
protective services. We think the case was ill-advised," Hardiman said.
"Our plan was to get him out of the system as soon as possible. This
whole thing has been about his weight with no concern to his emotional
Medical professionals, prior to his removal from his
mother, had concluded that the boy's weight gain was due to his diet and
not other medical reasons. This is the first time an Ohio child had
been removed from a parent's custody primarily due to weight concerns.
to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, about 17% children
and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years are obese, as opposed to merely