A 9-year-old boy removed from his mother's custody after his weight ballooned to more than 200 pounds has slimmed down enough to return home.
The boy, who was placed in foster care last fall and then with an uncle, lost about 50 pounds over four months through exercise and healthy eating. He was returned to his mother under protective supervision in March, and a juvenile court judge in Cleveland released him from that supervision Thursday.
Social service workers still plan on checking in with the boy and his mother in Cleveland Heights and have offered them nutritional and health counseling. The YMCA also gave the boy and his mother a free membership.
"That's the tremendous thing," said John Lawson, an attorney who was appointed by a judge to act as a guardian during the court proceedings. "Let's hope we never have to go back to court with this child."
The boy was removed from his family over health concerns and placed in foster care in October after Cuyahoga County case workers said his mother wasn't doing enough to control his weight. The county's Children and Family Services agency said it had worked with the family for more than a year before he was removed.
The boy was considered at risk for developing diabetes or high blood pressure. Government growth charts say most boys his age weigh about 60 pounds. He weighed as much as 218 pounds, but dropped to 166 pounds when he was with his uncle, Lawson said Friday.
He was placed in the custody of his uncle last December on the day he celebrated his ninth birthday. The goal all along was to get him back with his family.
The uncle took him to the gym three nights a week, Lawson said. He also began swimming and playing basketball and is doing well despite changing schools and homes several times in recent months, Lawson said.
The boy is continuing to exercise, and his mother recently found a job, which should help with the family's financial stability, Lawson said.
"Hopefully, everything is on track," he said. "You've got to be in a regiment to keep your weight down."