Should extremely obese kids go to foster care?

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

I came across an AP article in the AJC that says parents of extremely obese children should lose custody of them.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

The Journal of the American Medical Association recently published an opinion piece by David Ludwig, a doctor at Children’s Hospital Boston, and Lindsey Murtagh, an attorney, that states it’s in the children’s best interest to take them away from their parents. They said foster care is preferable and more ethical than obesity surgery, in most cases.

Ludwig told the AP that foster care “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible. That may require instruction on parenting.”

Ludwig said he starting thinking about the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl came to his obesity clinic several years ago. Her parents had physical disabilities, little money and difficulty controlling her weight. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed diabetes, cholesterol problems, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

“Out of medical concern, the state placed this girl in foster care, where she simply received three balanced meals a day and a snack or two and moderate physical activity,” he said. After a year, she lost 130 pounds. Though she is still obese, her diabetes and apnea disappeared; she remains in foster care, he said.

Taking kids away from their parents seems to be extreme, so I’d like to know what you think. Here’s what other Atlantans said in a recent article.

Do you think extremely obese kids should go to foster care?

Are there other solutions?

Is weight-loss surgery acceptable for children and teens?

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

41 comments Add your comment

Richard Wexler

July 22nd, 2011
1:13 am

The authors of the medical journal commentary may know all about nutrition, but they haven’t got a clue about how the child welfare system really works. It is a system that a grand jury once described as having “few checks and no balance.” Everyone in it *always* says they use foster care as a last resort, yet tens of thousands of children are taken needlessly every year.

Clearly these authors also have no clue about the enormous emotional trauma this separation inflicts on children, not to mention the studies showing abuse in one-quarter to one-third of foster homes (the record of group homes and institutions is worse). And why, in the case they site, couldn’t the state simply have brought help *in* to the family home to give the child those three balanced meals they talk about.

Encourage child protective services to tear apart families because a child is overweight and they’ll do it over and over – and every time they’ll claim it’s a “last resort.”

Self restraint by CPS? Fat chance.

Richard Wexler
Executive Director
National Coalition for Child Protection Reform
http://www.nccpr.org

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

shaggy

July 22nd, 2011
6:45 am

Yes, if there are no relatives to “responsibly” care for them after their so-called parents have been taken to jail, charged with child abuse and neglect.
Any so-called parent that does this to a child, is of no use to society, and deserves to be in a penal setting, where their destructive, impulsive behaviour is controlled.
Plus, the child will finally have a chance at a good, healthy, and active life.

shaggy

July 22nd, 2011
6:55 am

Richard Wexler

So, you actually believe that a child should be left with the so-called parent, when they have abused it? How about a kid being whipped bloody? Do you want to “keep the family together”?

That is rubbish. Yes, fix DFACS and make sure it benefits the kids, but apply heavy penalties to the abuser, and yes, poking big macs down a kid’s throat that weighs 200 lbs at 8 years old is abuse.

Jeff

July 22nd, 2011
6:56 am

Only in the most extreme circumstances. It is a very slippery slope. Because at what issue do we draw the line THIS TIME? Maybe next time, we pull the kids when the parents smoke and the kids don’t don’t have appropriate clothing because they can’t afford it. Sounds silly now, but why would something like that not be the “next” step?

Tuckergirl

July 22nd, 2011
7:21 am

It’s an entertaining thought in theory but totally impractical in application.

Does this man think really believe the foster care system can properly deal with a situation like this? They can’t even handle the load they have. Case workers can barely juggle all the duties they have. How many botched cases have we seen where an abused child in foster care ended up back with the parent(s) only to end up dying because the system was clueless?

I’m with Jeff. If an extreme case comes to light where a child is obviously morbidly obese and the parents are clearly unable to handle the situation, it makes sense to take action. Even then, the separation should be brief with enough time to help the child learn new habits AND teach the parents how to keep it going. The child should be separated from the parents as short a time as possible.

I may be totally off (and sometimes I am) but while many kids ARE indeed obese, how many of them are morbidly obese to the point of danger? Do we want to start seeing a kid carrying 20 extra lbs. getting sucked into the foster care system? Heck no. Can you imagine the number of kids that would involve being removed? The system’s already overburdened, I can’t imagine what this would do to it.

As for weight loss surgery, it’s risky enough for an adult to attempt. I have a friend who had it years ago but the process took many steps such as nutrition classes, counseling, group counseling, and more before she ever had the surgery. She’s done well (fortunately) but do you want to take that risk with a child? And who is to say the kid won’t go back to an unhealthy diet anyway? Who is going to monitor that? AND who pays for it?

shaggy

July 22nd, 2011
7:25 am

Jeff,

No slippery slope here. It is child abuse, plain and simple. These imbeciles are causing direct harm, just like beating them bloody, only their whip is a BK Whopper.
On the smoking thing, yes, if they are so stupid as to constantly, and directly, expose a child to cigarette smoke, it’s child abuse. Lock em up.
I don’t care if an adult eats a sack of groceries an hour, smokes 4 packs a day, and washes it all down with 2 fiths of gin. They are adults. These are children.

Jeff

July 22nd, 2011
7:35 am

Shaggy, I fully respect your passion for kids. Here’s my fear; we put them in another “system” that routinely fails to fulfill it’s mission and protect the children any better than the parents they were taken away from. They have proven over and over again that they are incapable of fixing the problem. Some children always have and always will grow up in a bad environment. When Newt called for orphanages back in the 90’s, he was laughed at across the board. But is this really not heading in that direction?

shaggy

July 22nd, 2011
7:54 am

Jeff,

I agree that the current system must be fixed. Fix it, and if they act like imbeciles, lock them up too, except longer, because “we the people” trusted them.
A “bad environment” that includes child abuse, can’t be tolerated. Just as we don’t allow sex predators access to children, even if the predator is their parent, so should go abuse of other kinds, even for abuse by Doritos.

MomOf2Girls

July 22nd, 2011
8:23 am

I agree that in extreme cases (ie causes illnesses or physical incapacitation) there should be intervention, although I don’t think the foster system, which is very flawed, is the appropriate venue. Perhaps a consultant can be brought in to work with the family as a whole, which would result in a healthier environment, not just a skinnier kid who will likely get fat again once back in the original environment (assuming he’s or she’s allowed to go home again).

Also, along with others, I question where the line is drawn. What should be the measurement – how overweight a child is? The BMI? In the case of weight, how much is too much? 200 lbs – sounds extreme, so okay. What about 100 lbs? 50 lbs? 40? This is how a slippery slope works. While I agree that allowing a child to gorge themselves the the point that he looks like a medicine ball is abuse, most cases wouldn’t be that clear.

JJ

July 22nd, 2011
8:41 am

I don’t believe taking a child in this instance is a good thing. I think the parents need to be educated about proper nutrition. And there could be other factors in the obesity, such as a thyroid problem. Let’s not just assume the child is obese because of food. Yes a lot of kids are fat as a result of their parents lack of good food sense.

As a matter of fact, when a woman gets pregnant, and goes to the doctor, the first thing they need to tell her is proper nutrition. They are given a HUGE Neo-Natal vitamin to take during the pregnancy, so why not incorporate healthy eating habits into that program.

But ripping a family apart and placing a child in foster care is NOT the answer. There needs to be some nutritional education. Maybe nutrition counseling…..

Black and White Smiley Faces ☺☻

July 22nd, 2011
9:00 am

“Her parents had physical disabilities, little money and difficulty controlling her weight.”

Excuses, excuses! Always excuses for the obese.

Poor nutrition & no physical activity = fat.

It’s not rocket science.

motherjanegoose

July 22nd, 2011
9:12 am

Nutritional education….hahaha!

Yes, this is covered at school and there perhaps is more information available across the board in 2011 than in years past. Yet, parents are still purchasing food with their EBT cards at Qwik Trip. Yes, someone we know told me about this yesterday. How healthy could that food be? Tis true that the Qwik Trip is closer to their homes and they may not have transportation OR it may be simply easier to just fill up on junk food than actually have a meal plan.

Should we give them a pass and let them purchase things that are not healthy and perhaps more expensive with programs funded by tax dollars?

Knowing things and doing them are very different indeed. Do we know that smoking and second hand smoke are both unhealthy? Yet, there are children who still come to school reeking of smoke.

We know that alcohol and drug can be dangerous yet I read this today on Yahoo:
http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2011/07/22/drunken_driving_traffic_crime_deportations_way_up/

I do not know where to draw the line on concern for children. Sometimes, I wonder if it would be best to take away the EBT cards and deliver a nutritious box of food to the families. Get the unemployed involved in packing the meals and show them how to select items. Have a rotation of 3-4 days of a meal plan such as:

1 box of cereal 1 bunch of bananas 1 quart of milk…..breakfast
1 loaf of bread PBJ soup grapes and cookies ….lunch
1 pkg of chicken, rice, salad and pudding….dinner

Some say they need choices….really….when you do not have enough money to buy your own food and we are purchasing it for you…you perhaps should be thrilled to have something to eat….especially if it is good for you! Also, if you got tired of what was being offered, you may go get a job so you can buy a frozen pizza. This is not a jab at those who lost their jobs but those who have NEVER had one.

I have seen kids eat cherry tomatoes for a snack and I have also seen kids eat fruit roll ups.
All depends on what they are introduced to. FYI…I do not think they sell cherry tomatoes at Qwik Trip.

Andy Johnston

July 22nd, 2011
9:37 am

Great comments and discussion. Like MomOf2Girls and others mentioned, where will the line be drawn for overweight kids?

If foster care isn’t an option, should teens and older children have the option of state-sponsored weight-loss surgery?

MJG, I’ve never seen cherry tomatoes at QuikTrip, but it sells bananas, apples and salads. I believe the fruit is cheaper than a candy bar.

motherjanegoose

July 22nd, 2011
9:44 am

@ Andy…fair enough but do most folks purchase fruit at Qwik Trip?

Not based on the discussion we recently had. How expensive is produce at Qwik Trip? I will admit that I have no idea as I have never purchased it there. Perhaps it is the best place to shop? I will have to check it out :)
Nah…we just stopped at a road side stand in Monroe ( my son tells me they call it MUN roe) and bought some wonderful things right from the farm. Yes, I do own a car to drive out there….not everyone does.

With our climate, it seems to me that some folks could be taught to garden in a container and have their own things to eat?

JJ

July 22nd, 2011
9:53 am

I don’t shot at Qwik Trip. I don’t even go there, unless I’m with my daughter and she stops to get a drink or something. I don’t do convenience stores very often, usually just on road trips for a soda and possibly a bag of peanuts. I shop at Publix and Suwanee Farmer’s Market.

I constantly have fresh veggies and fresh fruit available. In the mornings, as I’m rushing out the door, I can grab a few pieces of fruit, and throw a salad together for lunch. There’s plenty of fruit for my daughter to snack on and she too will fix a salad for lunch. 95% of the time, we have a healthy well-balanced dinner. The other 5% is dining out once a month or our famous “Junk Food Night”. Junk Food Night is when neither of us wants to cook dinner. So we just snack on stuff in the pantry.

On Wednesday nights, we have “clean out the refridgerator night” and eat leftovers. The garbage gets picked up on Thursday.

HB

July 22nd, 2011
9:58 am

I think providing nutritious prepared food instead of cards sounds great, MJG, but it would probably be far more expensive to set up than having people shop in existing food stores. There was an announcement this week that WalMart and other grocery retailers will be opening stores in poor areas where there are few places to buy fresh, healthy food (”food deserts”), and I think Walgreens will be offering produce in their existing stores in areas without grocery stores, so that will help too. I don’t know about QT, but I have seen healthy options added to other convenience stores in the last year or so. 7-11 has added salads, carrot and celery bowls, boiled eggs, yogurt, and fresh fruit (whole apples and bananas and packaged fresh fruit bowls with melons, etc). And they’re pretty cheap. It’s so important to increase options in poor neighborhoods both of fresh food to cook and healthy prepared foods (some elderly and disabled people are unable to cook and still others, sadly, don’t have kitchens).

JATL

July 22nd, 2011
10:04 am

My first instinct is to say, “Yes!” but then I take into account the foster system, the gravity of taking a child from his/her home and parents -and a child with possible emotional problems at that and the question of “How obese?”

The 400 lb girl -oh yes! A 90 lb 3 year old? Probably. There must be strict guidelines in place, and I think before just whisking the child away, there needs to be a grace period where the family cpuld meet with a doctor and nutritionist to formulate a food and exercise approach. If after 3 months results are happening, then leave the child and check up every 6 weeks. If the kid stops losing or they’re not keeping the food journals and other assignments up to date, then remove. Only certain specially mandated and licensed foster homes should be allowed though, or it won’t do any good.

I do think it’s abusive/neglectful to let your child become morbidly obese, but there is a difference in being an ignorant and lazy parent and a violent or sexually abusive one -a HUGE difference! Educating an entire family on proper nutrition could benefit everyone. It would certainly be cheaper than foster care and the medical bills. If the parents are still to lazy to participate, then yes, take the child. God knows what else is being neglected or done there too.

HB

July 22nd, 2011
10:05 am

Garden in a container? Indoors? Are there foods that will grow that way? Or do you just mean people with yards or balconies?

JJ

July 22nd, 2011
10:10 am

I have a container veggie garden on my deck. I’m growing tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, basil, rosemary & lemon thyme….I can make my own salsa…LOL

motherjanegoose

July 22nd, 2011
10:18 am

HB…anyone who has a front STOOP…I have seen several in public housing…they even have clothes lines and sometimes Cadillacs too ( saw them in NYC).

I do not know much about food and retail economics but I do know that many EBT users are not typically frugal folks. I was behind someone once who was purchasing crab legs and a decorated birthday cake at Kroger….no lie. To me, that could have purchased a LOT more cereal, milk, fresh fruit and perhaps cheese.

I am not saying they could grow much but it may be a way to encourage something healthy.
Pride in accomplishment is a skill I recommend for children. Anyone else remember sprouting greens beans in elementary school? Even my 19 year old daughter is intrigued by our little raised garden bed. It is 3 feet by 6 feet and we have herbs, tomatoes, green beans and strawberries in there. If these folks were required to get involved, they may be excited about food options.

jarvis

July 22nd, 2011
10:19 am

Shagyy, I’m surprised at your response. I can usually count on you to have a free man’s opionion. This is typical leftie bullschlitz. The government is ALWAYS the solution. A kid’s fat….well let Big Brother come in take the child and save the day.

The gubberment program will f’ that kid up more than if he weighs 400 lbs. by age 12. How many kids die every year because of childhood obesity (none would be my guess)? How many kids die because of crappy foster homes every year (probably measurable). Sure a situation where a kid gets enourmous at a young age is an unhealthy environment, but so is living with a smoker. Should Barak and the boys take those kids as well?

HB

July 22nd, 2011
10:35 am

I think gardening if you have a place to do so is great. I was just trying to figure out what you meant. Some places have outdoor areas that can be used and some don’t. Community gardens in formerly vacant lots are another good option, allowing neighborhood families to take ownership of plots and eat what they grow. I love gardening, but live in a highrise with no balcony. I’d try growing hanging tomatoes and cucumbers if I had one.

JJ

July 22nd, 2011
10:43 am

HB where do you live? You mentioned 7-11 and I don’t think there are any of those stores in the Atlanta area anymore…..

shaggy

July 22nd, 2011
10:44 am

jarvis,

Yeah, I know. I depart when kids are concerned. They don’t have a choice. I hate the horror story that is DFACS. That is why I say fix it, fix it good, and hold the ones responsible if they break it, expecially for their own gratification or enrichment. Years of punishment…a life of punishment.

Just like I have already stated, I can’t tolerate a molestor having access to children. I can’t agree that a parent “giving” and overweight child twinkies to eat should have access to that child either. Both are willful child abuse and harm society as a whole. I couldn’t care less if that parent eats themself to death.

Sam

July 22nd, 2011
10:58 am

This issue is really complicated. First of all, taking a child out of a home is a last resort. Having an overweight child, on the grand scale (pun intended?) of things, is not the worst thing a parent could do to a child. What about smoking around your children? Is that child abuse? Where do we draw the line? In fact, where does the government belong in this mess at all? Should they be involved, or should this be a family decision?

Secondly, there are many factors why a child would be overweight or obese in the first place. Ever notice the size of the parents with the overweight kid? I bet you most of the time the fat kid has fatter parents. Maybe education for Mom and Dad would make more sense than taking their child away from them.

However, we are not taking into account socioeconomic status, education level, amount of hours of TV and/or video game use. We did not even mention the extremely prevalent and persuasive food ads on television that target children – advertisements which should be kept in check by the government. What do you think the kids want to eat – the happy meal or the baked chicken with veggies. Sheesh – it’s no contest.

Not to mention, there is also the issue of available extremely processed “food”. Do an experiment: next time you eat an oreo, cheeto, dorito, etc – ask yourself what plant it came from.

HB

July 22nd, 2011
11:05 am

JJ, I’m in the DC area now.

MomsRule

July 22nd, 2011
11:16 am

@Andy – in answer to your question: Should teens and older children have the option of state-sponsored weight-loss surgery?

Absolutely not.

There are relatively few instances where a true hormonal/gland issue is the cause of obesity.

What we are talking about here is poor nutrition and lack of exercise. This cannot be fixed with surgery. And why on Earth should the state (tax payers) pay for it even it could be fixed with surgery?

I’ll be happy when I see the trend return towards personal accountability and responsibility and pride. Yes, a little pride never hurts.

It seems to me this country is spending way to much time and money trying to help people that don’t want to help themselves.

I understand we are talking about children here but goodness….we seem to have created a viscious circle. Years spent helping others in the spirit of helping the children sure doesn’t seem to be working. We have generation after generation of leeches.

homeschooler

July 22nd, 2011
12:21 pm

This seems like a complicated issue but it really is not. At some point, obesity becomes a medical issue. If an obese child is at immediate risk of diabetes, heart problems or other health related issues and their parent or guardian is not taking care of the issue (ie..following doctor’s advise etc..). that caretaker is guilty of medical neglect. At that point, the court can decide, through evidence presented by the doctors and DFCS, if the issue warrants removal of the child. This is just like other forms of neglect or abuse. It’s not likely that the 20 lb overweitght 10 yr old will be brought into foster care but the 150 lb 6 yr old would probably be.

For a child to be taken into foster care by DFCS or law enforcement there has to be eminent risk to the child. I don’t see that being the case with an over weight child. Even if the child is morbidly obese. In fact I have only seen this happen once and there were a LOT of other issues in the home. (you all might remember two extrememly overweight girls being removed from a home in Cobb Co. approximately a year ago) Those girls also had extreme head lice and the home was in poor condition.

I think that any child who is overweight is, on some level, neglected but it needs to be extreme for that child to go to foster care. DFCS has some great foster homes but it is still very traumatizing for a child to be placed away from his/her family. This always needs to be a last resort and it is. Not that chlidren do not languish in the foster care system but that is usually because these are children no one wants. Parents are not trying to get them back and there are no willing or available relatives.

In all cases, DFCS will try to work with the family before removing a child. Eating habits are not an easy fix. Neither are poor exercise habits. It is cheaper to eat unhealthy. I once spent 40 dollars at Aldi Foods and got enough food for a family that I was working with to eat for a week. (4 people). I bought Ramen Noodles, frozen chicken nuggets, hot dogs cheap cereal. I thought of how cheap I could feed my family if I was willing to buy this junk.

Because it is not an easy fix, I think a lot of medically neglected obese children could end up in foster care but like children who are taken for other reasons, it may save their lives. It is necessary in some cases.

catlady

July 22nd, 2011
1:11 pm

MJG, ha ha! I was reading without reading name tags again and this person was writing much like I think–and it’s you!

EBT cards from food stamp programs should only be allowed to purchase meat (fresh, canned frozen), fruit (fresh, canned, frozen), veggies (fresh canned, frozen), water, dairy, bread, and sanitary supplies (detergent, kotex, TP, etc). No candy, coffee, cokes, frozen pies, chips, etc. Also: garden seeds. It amazes me that when I have taken fresh, organic veggies to the local food pantry, the people I have seen have seen morbidly obese smokers who seem to prefer canned food over fresh. Around here, almost everyone has access to ground to grow a garden, but too many are just too sorry to do so!

Secondly, germane to this topic, I do think extreme cases should be referred to DFACS. We had a child about 6 years ago who was tall for a third grader–about 4 ft 5 inches–but weighed over 300 pounds! He literally could barely walk, had trouble going straight through the door, had rank sores all over his body where his skin lay and rotted on other skin, and came to school each day with $2-3 for the snack store (but was on free lunch). We called dad in–another big boy at 6′3″ and about 350–who told us the doctor said the boy was “healthy.” The kid slept constantly in class, and had sleep apnea to boot!

The boy is still huge. I saw him the other day. He is in high school now, probably weighs close to 400 lbs. His dad died about a year ago (heart attack) and the step mother is “taking care of” the boy. This is one case that needed intervention, but was told, “We can’t tell people how to raise their kids.”

catlady

July 22nd, 2011
2:04 pm

MJG, I might also mention a program our school had this year. It was sponsored by a philanthropic group or church (can’t remember). Each Friday the kids who were signed up took home a backpack with snacks for the weekend–things like pudding, granola bars, fruit juice boxes. The only school time was spent by the counselor rounding up the backpacks on Monday morning and organizing the volunteers to fill the backpacks. For Spring break, the kids took home a whole week’s worth of snack food. My objection: AT WHAT POINT DO WE DRAW THE LINE AND RECOGNIZE THAT PARENTS BEAR SOME RESPONSIBILITY FOR FEEDING THEIR KIDS! Also, we were supplying them with highly processed “food”. Many of the kids complained because they ate up all the food on Friday afternoon. However, each parent who wanted the help, regardless of income, could get it–about 20% of the school did ( of a school of 75% free lunch).

Let me also say, in our area we have (of course) foodstamps and WIC, which are widely used, along with 75% free lunch at schools. We also have free lunch for anyone at one outreach area 5 days a week, 2 groups who give away boxes of food each week plus a food bank, and in the summer the schools system prepares food for any kid and brings it to centralized sites 2 times a day, 5 days a week.

I understand about the need to help others over a rough spot. I have, as a single parent, had rough spots myself while I was in grad school. However, where I live, we have GENERATIONS of folks whose lives have been one long rough spot, and their kids believe that it is OWED them. There are less than 500 people in our county, not counting the TRULY disabled, who cannot have a garden plot. In addition, we live in a National Forest, where it seems it is hunting season for something most of the year, and we have fine trout streams also. However, that requires getting away from the (cable) TV, off the cell phone, and putting in some effort, which is sadly lacking!

MomOf2Girls

July 22nd, 2011
2:20 pm

@catlady, the case you mentioned sounds pretty bad, so I doubt the doctor said that, but I can’t be sure because of my own experience.

My young niece is very overweight, and when I tried to talk to her parents about it, their response was “the pediatrician says she’s fine”. I almost fell on the floor when they told me that! Fortunately they had to switch peds, and the new doctor was more on the ball about it.

catlady

July 22nd, 2011
3:43 pm

Mom, I don’t think the doctor said that, either, and although we asked for information from the doctor, we never got it (should he be required to participate in pe? He spent recess eating.) He could not even walk down the hall with his class–he arrived several minutes later. He had to have his hip replaced in 4th grade but we doubted it would help, and I think he has had another replacement since then. He has become a very angry person –starting in 4th grade and getting much more serious in 5th– and I fear he will be in detention soon (if they will lock him up–sometimes they won’t because of all the medical care required).

Black and White Smiley Faces ☺☻

July 22nd, 2011
3:56 pm

“will be opening stores in poor areas where there are few places to buy fresh, healthy food”

That’ll go over like a heavy balloon!

The poor are poor for a reason. Low-income & under-acheiving people are not well known for eating right & making the effort required to improve their health.

Sorry if that sounds ugly; the truth sometimes is.

Black and White Smiley Faces ☺☻

July 22nd, 2011
4:00 pm

it seems to me this country is spending way to much time and money trying to help people that don’t want to help themselves.

BINGO!

motherjanegoose

July 22nd, 2011
4:23 pm

@ B and W ….it is perhaps easy for those who have never worked themselves to the bone, to whine that those with a fat bank account should help them out. I have done the former and the latter ( not with a fat bank account) but it is difficult to help people who never want to improve themselves.

“Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish ; and you have fed him for a lifetime”

homeschooler

July 22nd, 2011
5:04 pm

I do find it interesting that some of the things that are the most damaging to our kids are not considered serious enough to fall under the scope of DFCS intervention. This is often because much of society considers these things acceptable or unavoidable. For example, smoking around children, not putting them in car seats and allowing them to be overweight are not typically things that DFCS would investigte. This is because there are too many people out there who do these things and think “I don’t neglect my kid” so society thinks DFCS is overstepping. Yet, obesity, secondary smoke and car accidents are proven to cause long term health problems and death. The more we educate the public to the dangers of these things, the more acceptable it is for DFCS to intervene. As a caseworker, when these things come up I try to educate people to the dangers without saying “you can’t do this” because, DFCS really has no control over these things. Co-sleeping is another one of these issues. I slept with my babies but I’m supposed to give a parent a hard time about doing so because the incidents of SIDS increases with co-sleeping. Part of me wants to say “do what you want” but I know that the evidence is there prove that it is dangerous. Society largely dictates what DFCS does and does not chose to get involved in.

Doris M

July 23rd, 2011
8:16 am

It is true that something needs to be done about obesity in America, but I don’t think that taking a child from its family and putting them under DFCS authority is the answer. DFCS system is flawed and understaffed and cannot now handle the children under their care. What happens when you add more? There are no easy answers.

djm_NC

July 23rd, 2011
8:23 am

i too have seen lots of little stores, family dollar types of stores and convienence (sp) stores announce they now take ebt! i know how the store systems work…all they have to do is make certain items not allowable on ebt…they do it for wic…if you get something that isnt approved by wic it will be declined at the register. they could do that with ebt cards….if you try to buy a cake or sodas or whatever else is deemed unhealthy just flag it in the system so it will be declined at the register. it might take some time to set the system up to start with, but as much money as grocery stores make from ebt users im sure they would if it was mandated. i have seen people buying so many things that are unhealthy or just plain expensive with their ebt cards. they cant buy stuff on wic like that because wic only has certain things apporved. there really are solutions to the ebt food choices-i cant believe no one has taken this in hand.

catlady

July 24th, 2011
3:19 pm

So, Andy, when are you out of here, man? It’s been a month now of trying to herd the cats/tigers/lions/whatever here. Are you about tired of it?

Andy Johnston

July 25th, 2011
12:23 am

Catlady — Wednesday is my last day. It’s been a great challenge.