Obese Boy Removed from Mother Loses Weight in Foster Care

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CLEVELAND, Ohio-The debate over whether a morbidly obese boy should have been taken away from his mother to be placed in foster care ended peacefully in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court, Wednesday afternoon.

Fox 8 News reporter Emily Valdez reports that the boy's mother and state prosecutors, reached an agreement that moves the boy to Columbus on an emergency custody order.

Prosecutors say the boy, known as "K.W.," who turned nine years old Wednesday, will live with an uncle until the next progress hearing.

The judge praised both sides for doing what is in "the best interest of the boy," and granted the mother a one-week unsupervised visit with her son over the holidays.

Mary Louise Madigan, administrator for the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services, said K.W. was removed in November from his mother in Cleveland Heights after a doctor referred the case to the DCFS.

Madigan said they worked with the mother for a year, after the doctor alerted them to the boy's health issue to try to help her control the boy's weight.

She said K.W. was not removed for his weight, but rather because of 'medical neglect' as the boy had sleep apnea, which was exacerbated by his extreme weight, and could eventually be life-threatening.

During the year, they worked with the boy and his mother, and they were enrolled in a nutrition program at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, but the boy continued to gain weight, Madigan said.

DCFS workers placed the boy in a foster home to see if he could lose weight and become healthier if he is in a different environment. Prosecutors said during Wednesday's hearing that K.W. lost more than 20 lbs. after being placed in foster care.

During the court proceedings, both sides said the goal was to eventually reunite the boy with his mother.

K.W.'s progress will be checked on February 27. Attorneys said the boy could be returned to his mother if there is a positive report.

Stick with Fox 8 News and FOX8.com for updates on this story as they become available.