Educators ordered to report parents of obese children as part of new child protection crackdown
Is not watching your child’s weight a form of neglect or abuse? Is it lazy parenting giving into their wanton demands?
A new Education Department order now deems obesity as a “child protection issue”, meaning educators are being urged to contact welfare services about fat kids who may be at “risk of significant harm”.
Staff will also be given compulsory training about treating obesity “as a child protection issue”, the Daily Telegraph reports.
According to the publication at least one in five NSW school students are overweight or obese, the Health Department told a parliamentary inquiry.
Obesity rates among low socio-economic families has also risen from 27 percent to 34 percent between 2010 and 2015.
While only 28 percent of students are considered to be “adequately active”, according to the Daily Telegraph.
“With regard to obesity, this would only be in very extreme circumstances,’’ an Education Department spokesperson said.
“Obesity is considered a child protection issue when it is impacting on the child’s wellbeing and welfare to a significant degree, and it is having a harmful effect on normal physical, social and emotional functioning, and parents/carers are unwilling or unable to address these concerns.”
However, doctors have slammed the move with Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon suggesting it “smells of social engineering”.
“We need to tread very, very carefully so we are not interfering too far in the right of parents to decide what’s right for their children,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
“I think we need to find that balance before asserting that teachers, headmasters and schools should be giving parents advice on how to look after their children.’’
Although he has acknowledged that obesity is the next big public health challenge.
The move is bound to put more pressure on parents already struggling to feed their families. Beef, Lamb, Fruit and Vegetables have all seen prices at the checkout soar, with double digit percentage growth over the past twenty-four months. Meanwhile, real wage growth has seen a minor bump, rising by less than two-percent.
The real fear could be that many loving, caring and attentive parents could be reported, because their children suffer because the family can’t afford to eat healthy.
It is understood schools made almost 25,000 reports to the Family and Community Services (FACS) Child Protection Helpline in 2015/16, with 45 percent linked to neglect, 40 percent regarding physical violence and 20 percent involving sexual abuse.
We know where they are going to be sent.
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