The Ohio mother of an obese 9-year-old who was controversially taken away by the state for a couple months and recently returned to her decided earlier this month to move to Georgia. It was soon called into question whether the mother had the right to do so.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports the court-appointed guardian for the boy who was 218 pounds when he was taken away from his mother last fall said the mother had stopped using medical services, including weigh-ins for the boy, when she regained custody of him. During the custody hearing, she had alluded to the fact that she would use these voluntary and free services offered to her to help with the boy's health. The boy was down to 166 pounds by the time he left his uncle's house where he was sent to live in December.
In court, Attorney John Lawson said that the mother had promised to attend family counseling, use their free YMCA membership and maintain contact with a county worker. After not doing some of these things, the boy in his last weigh-in had gained more than nine pounds.
The ACLU attorney representing the mother, James Hardiman, said that after the last court date in May that the case was closed and the mother should have the right to move with her child where ever she pleased.
Reuters reports Hardiman saying the case "is an issue of liberty."
"We continue to take issue with the county removing a well adjusted child from his home solely on the basis of his weight," he said.
Judge John Hoffman Jr. in the juvenile court said that he believes as well that the court's jurisdiction ended in May. Ultimately though, the Plain Dealer reports Judge Hoffman saying he will issue an official ruling after visiting judge David Stucki -- the judge who heard earlier hearings involving the case -- weighs in. If Judge Stucki finds that the mother misrepresented her intentions to use a 90-day voluntary monitoring program to help her maintain her son's weight-loss, then the case could be reopened.
The Department of Children and Family Services told the Plain Dealer they had not been alerted of the move but that they would forward the case to the appropriate children services in Atlanta so they were aware.
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