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Judge Announces Obese Boy To Be Relocated

Cuyahoga County child welfare officials got court approval to remove the boy from his mother’s custody, after his weight topped over 200 pounds. They say the action was in his best interest, because his mother wasn’t doing enough to control his weight, putting his health at risk. The child already had sleep apnea, and there were concerns he could also develop hypertension, diabetes, and other problems.

The mother sued for custody of her son. In Wednesday’s hearing, Judge John Hoffman announced that the boy’s weight fell to 192 pounds while in foster care. He also said the boy will get to spend a week celebrating Christmas with his mom and brother…a positive and timely announcement as Wednesday was also the boy’s ninth birthday.

The boy’s guardian, Cleveland attorney John Lawson, is praising the agreement. He says everyone’s goal is to see the boy returned to his family.

“Clearly weight loss is a very important goal," says Lawson, "but he still needs to continue to have relationship with his mom because that’s where he’s going to end up living as soon as we can get it to that point. And the social workers, family services, along with her attorneys, and myself....will put together a case plan to try to maximize the weight loss issue, and to continue with trying to get he and the mom back together.”

The case has divided bioethicists, civil liberty groups, and law experts, who have debated whether removing the child was in his best interest, and if government officials overstepped their bounds.

The case will be further reviewed in February.