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Italian grandparents could take custody of malnourished toddler

A parent's top priority when it comes to their kids should be the children's health. In order to protect and foster the health of children, parents should be able to provide the basic essentials, including food, clothes, shelter and support. Without these things, a child's health can deteriorate and a parent could face the possibility of losing custody of that child.

This is the very situation that has been making international headlines recently. According to news outlets, two Italian parents have lost their custodial rights after their toddler was brought to the hospital by his worried grandparents. The 14-month-old boy was reportedly seriously malnourished because of his parents' decision to feed him a strictly vegan diet.

The diet did not provide adequate nutrition for the toddler, and he evidently weighed as much as a 3-month-old baby when he was brought to the hospital. The fact that the boy was being fed a vegan diet was not necessarily the problem; the problem was that it should have been supplemented with the iron and calcium that was lacking as a result of the diet. However, the parents failed to do this.

While parents have the right to raise their children as they see fit, they can lose their parental rights and/or custody of their kids if they are putting their kids in danger. 

In this case and others like it, malnourishment can be considered neglect; parents who are neglectful can and do lose custody. If this happens, the courts may give custody to other family members, like the child's grandparents, on a permanent or temporary basis.

What Tennessee parents and family members should take away from this story is a reminder that a child's needs must be met, and protecting his or her well-being must be a parent's top priority. This doesn't mean parents needs to be perfect or engage in tactics and practices they don't agree with, as long as they are not putting their child's health in danger.

But if the welfare of a child is in question, it may be necessary for the courts to assess the current custody situation and make adjustments if appropriate.

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