children Archives - Page 6 of 6 - Cordell & Cordell

Scientist: obese kids removed from parents

What’s one way to prevent obesity in U.S. children? Removing custody from the parents of morbidly obese children who do not attempt to control their kids’ weight. At least, that is one what one Harvard University professor recommended in a controversial commentary published in a well known medical journal, according to multiple reports.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the opinion article suggested that putting obese children in foster care may in some cases be more ethical than weight loss surgery. Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston who penned the article, said the point is not to blame parents, but rather to act in the best interest of those children and help them regain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Such extreme measures have been taken in extreme situations. For instance, Ludwig told The Associated Press that he began to seriously consider the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl was admitted to his obesity clinic several years ago. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed a slew of medical issues such as diabetes and hypertension, leading the state to place her in foster case. While in state care she received three balanced meals a day and moderate physical activity, leading her to drop 130 pounds.

However, Ludwig said he the state would ideally only remove child custody from a parent in extreme cases, and only as a last resort.

Childhood obesity in the U.S. has tripled in the last 30 years. Almost 20 percent of children between ages 6 to 11 were obese in 2008, while 18 percent of 12 to 19 years old were also obese that year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Step Children may have happier marriages

While for years some social scientists have claimed that children of divorce may be more likely to form unhappy marriages in their own future, recent studies indicate that kids with step families may actually benefit from witnessing a parents’ happier union, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A study released in January by the Pew Research Center confirms such a hypothesis. In a survey of 2,691 adults in the U.S., 60 percent of people who grew up in step families said their marriages are closer than those of their biological parents. In addition, 70 percent of respondents with step relatives reported being very satisfied with their family life.

While 42 percent of people with at least one step-relative said they felt a stronger sense of obligation to their biological parent, the research still indicates that stepchildren may benefit from seeing a parent positively connect with a stepparent.

More than 40 percent of Americans have at least one step relative. A study from the University of Missouri found that step children are more likely to react favorably to a step parent if they perceive their step parent likes them and displays friendly behaviors toward them.

Colorado program brings dads and kids together

Federal funding has allowed Colorado’s child welfare agencies to connect fathers with their estranged children through a new government program, according to the Denver Post.

The state started the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative after receiving $10 million in federal funding. The program aims to boost fatherhood programs across the state and even provides parenting classes, therapy and employment guidance fathers who may have been barred from seeing their child because they were unable to afford child support payments, the newspaper reports.

“This grant has been very successful in creating that paradigm shift, to educate the providers of these services to always ask, ‘Where’s the father?’ Don’t just assume the father is out of the picture,” Dan Welch, a member of the department of human services, told the paper.

The program has allowed Richard Jama, a Liberian immigrant, to connect with his daughter. Although he had been paying child support, he discovered his daughter was living with foster parents after she was abused by her mother’s boyfriend, a development social workers never informed him of. The news source said when Jama confronted officials at the child support registry office they directed him to a fatherhood program.

After Jama completed the program he gained full custody of his daughter, who is now 6.

Child custody issues similar to Jama’s case regularly occur across the country. A Nebraska man recently sued the state after it took officials more than eight months to tell him his daughter was in foster care, despite the fact that he paid child support.

Divorce may impact child’s social skills, scores

As if splitting up a marriage didn’t cause enough problems, new research suggests that young children of divorce are more likely to suffer from setbacks in social skills and have lower math scores, according to USA Today.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, found that children do not fall behind their peers in this area until after the split, and not during the potentially tumultuous period proceeding it.

“From the divorce stage onward, however, children of divorce lag behind in math test scores and interpersonal social skills,” Hyun Sik Kim, the author of the study, told the newspaper.

Kim said the fallout from a divorce may affect a child’s development if they are stressed by child custody conflicts or exposed to an ongoing parental “blame game.” Kim also said changing schools or being exposed to parents’ divorce-related depression could also impact their development, reported the news source.

While the study found that children’s math test scores tend to decline during the divorce process, their reading scores were unaffected. In addition, while divorce tended to impede a child’s ability to make and keep friends, they were not at a higher risk for externalizing problem behavior such as fighting or getting angry.

College age children of divorce may also be negatively affected by their parents’ split, according to another University of Wisconsin study. In that study, researchers found those children are less likely to receive financial support during college, even if both parents remarried.

KCTV 5: Dads By Default

Cordell & Cordell attorney Jill Best spoke out about a man forced to pay child-support after a DNA test excluded him as the biological father.

In a two-part segment titled “Dad By Default,” Best weighs in on the state of family law that can require a man to take responsibility for a child even if DNA evidence proves he is not the biological father.

Unfortunately, this situation is not uncommon, and most states will decide who is the father by considering what is in “the best interest” of the child.

Watch the complete KCTV-5 two-part segment.