Ten-stone toddler seized by social workers in 'tragic' case
Five-year-old girl from Newport weighed more than three times what is expected of a healthy child
CHILD protection experts have questioned why a five-year-old in Newport, south Wales was able to balloon to more than ten stone without intervention from authorities.
The toddler was taken into care by social workers last August weighing 10st 5lb, more than three times what is expected of a healthy child, the Sunday Times has revealed.
Two months later her weight had risen to 10st 10lb, but when she was weighed again this September it had dropped to below eight stone. However, her body mass index (BMI) was still roughly double the normal level for a five-year-old girl.
Tam Fry, honorary chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, said it was tragic that the girl - one of the heaviest five-year-old girls recorded in the UK - had not been taken into care earlier. "Since that child was one year old she would have been putting on weight, year after year after year," he said. "She must have been visible at nursery. Who didn't raise their hand and say, 'Look, something is going tragically wrong here'?"
Joanna Nicolas, a child protection consultant, said the Newport case was among the most extreme she had heard of in her 18-year career as a social worker. She also asked why nobody had done anything sooner to intervene.
Newport City Council said the decision was made purely on the basis of the girl's obesity, but would not say how she was allowed to reach that weight without intervention. The council said that it would be "inappropriate" to comment further on the case but said that a "thorough and comprehensive assessment of each child and family that we work with is always undertaken".
A Welsh Assembly report confirmed earlier this year that the rate of childhood obesity in Wales was the highest in the UK, with one third of children under the age of 16 classified as overweight. ·