What constitutes parental neglect
The parents of Daniel Hauser lost custody after they refused chemotherapy treatments for his cancer -- what constitutes neglect and when states should step in.
The following is not a full transcript; for full story, listen to audio.
Two stories in different parts of the country have re-ignited the issue of when the state should step in and take over for parents.
Yesterday a Minnesota judge ruled that the parents of thirteen-year old Daniel Hauser can regain custody of their son as long as he gets the cancer treatment that he needs. The Hausers lost custody of Daniel when his mother took him off of his chemotherapy treatments and then fled to California to escape a court order to resume the treatment.
And last week the state of South Carolina set out to determine whether a child's morbid obesity is enough to charge the parents with neglect. The child is Alexander Draper who is 14 years old and 555 pounds.
On "The Takeaway," Kate Dailey, who writes for the Human Condition blog for "Newsweek" magazine, talks about where we draw the line on negligence.
Dailey explains the difference between parental neglect and parental medical neglect: "With medical neglect parents often care very much; they just either arent't able to provide for their kids despite their best efforts, or they're very invested in their kid's medical care, but their ideas about what constitutes proper medical care is kind of at disagreement with the best accepted practices of how to care for a sick kid."
And the law on medical neglect is cut and dry: "The law has been pretty clear since about 1944 when they decided, look, if you want to be a martyr for your religious belief, that's fine; but you can't make a martyr out of your kid. The law really doesn't care what your intentions are -- whether it's because you have religious objections, whether it's because ... every time a family member's gone into the hospital they passed away, so you're reluctant to take your child to the hospital ... they're really just looking at is the kid getting the treatment they need to live, and if not, that's neglect."
The two cases reveal how we perceive parental neglect, according to Dailey: "It's been very interesting to watch the reactions to both the Hauser case and the Draper case ... in the Hauser case you have a lot of people saying the government shouldn't interfere, and the parents should be able to make this decision. In the Draper case, when you're dealing with obesity there's some issues of race, there's some issues of class; you have people more likely to say ... that woman's a menance and her son should be taken away from her."
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