Most of us try to watch what we eat. But what if someone "else" is watching?
An Okmulgee County mother of two says she got a visit from a DHS caseworker because her daughter is overweight. She claims the caseworker even implied she could lose her daughter because of it.
News on 6 reporter Steve Berg has more on this weighty issue. Last Friday, Tammy Natwick says she got an unexpected visitor at her home in the small town of Morris, a caseworker from the State Department of Human Services in nearby Okmulgee. "Well, I said what's the matter? And she said because of Stephanie's health. And I said because of Stephanie's health, what do you mean?"
Stephanie is Tammy's 13-year-old daughter, and Tammy asks the caseworker if she was referring to Stephanie's weight. "She didn't really say yes, and she didn't say no, she said it's her health, well what else is wrong with my daughter except being overweight."
Tammy says the caseworker never specified the problem, but Stephanie and her sister Valaire say the caseworker interviewed them at their school without Their Mom's knowledge and asked them if their Mom was watching Stephanie's diet. Tammy says the caseworker never told her what she needed to do.
Steve Berg "She didn't say, you need to take your daughter to the doctor?" Tammy: "She didn't even say that, I said do you want me to make a doctor's appointment and she said, yeah."
Tammy says someone may have reported her to DHS as a prank, but what worries her is that she says the case worker said she wouldn't take her kids away "that day". "I was really upset, I was confused, I was mad." And Stephanie doesn't like it either. "It really doesn't matter, it's really none of anyone's business, because it's my life."
Tammy says the family is nutrition-conscious because the girls' grandmother is diabetic, and what grandma eats, they eat. They can't afford fast food. They eat sweets in moderation. And they rarely fry food. But she says the state is putting the heat on her.
We called DHS, and they say because of strict privacy rules, they can't confirm or deny any part of the story. They would only say that "hypothetically" it would take more than a weight or diet issue to cause the removal of a child from a parent.