Should DCF assume custody of children who are severely overweight?
Yes according to obesity specialist, Dr. David Ludwig, who recently authored an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The argument seems to be that the parent(s) that by failing to maintain the child's weight at a healthy level they are not acting in the best interest of their child.
The author would likely support the notion that since DCF would remove a child if the child were starving to death then why not remove the child if he/she child were being fed to death?
But should DCF really charge a parent with neglect based on a child's obesity?
The answer depends on the particular circumstances of the case. For example, what efforts have the parents made to address the child's weight? Are the parents following the advice of the pediatrician and other service providers? Are there other child welfare issues in the home? Is their prior DCF involvement with the family? If there are siblings, how the siblings doing in the home environment? What are the likely social and psychological effects of removing the child from his/her family?
Absent the extreme case, I would argue that placement in foster care is not best for the child or the least restrictive alternative to deal with the issue.
This article has caused a great deal of controversy. Thoughts and comments welcome.
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