CLEVELAND -- A juvenile judge has terminated the court's protective control over the 9-year-old boy who weighed more than 200 pounds.
Because of his excessive weight and potential threats to his health, the boy was removed from his mother's custody in October, 2011, and was ordered by Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court to be placed with his uncle in Columbus.
The child dropped to 166 pounds during the course of his stay with his uncle, was reunited with his mother in Cleveland Heights in early March, and has regained about 7 pounds since then.
Thursday afternoon, visiting Judge David E. Stucki said the court is no longer in control of the boy and that his care is entrusted to his mother.
"It is the right thing to do at this time. The best interest of the child has been protected and supported. The system worked," Stucki said.
The boy was not in court but Stucki was told the boy now weighs 173 pounds. The boy was also given a free membership in the Heights YMCA where he was already going for exercise.
"For anybody who's trying to lose weight, going from 218 to 170 is a victory," said the youngster's Guardian ad Litem, John Lawson. "I'm still going to call this a victory for him. A few pounds here and there I don't think matter so much."
He has also been assigned a Big Brother from the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.
The mother will also get 90 more days of help from the court in learning how to cook healthy meals and promote exercise. Details remain to be worked out over a nutrition specialist who would come to the family home once a month for up to a year.
The cost of those visits, which include food, could run as high as $200 each. The county has agreed to pick up half the cost, and because the mother cannot afford the other $100, was hoping that some individual or agency could pitch in financially.
James Hardiman represented the boy's mother in court and said Juvenile authorities should never have intervened in the first place.
"I hope this does not set a precedent," Hardiman told WKYC, "that in the future the county will be inclined to take appropriate action, including providing services to a family before they unilaterally decide to remove a child from his home."
Stucki had the option of releasing the family from a protective supervision order and restoring the 9-year-old fully to his mother or making some other determination.