A couple may have heir obese children removed after social services ruled they had not lost enough weight.
The mother and father of seven children, six of whom are overweight, face the “unbearable” prospect of never seeing their four youngest again if authorities act on a threat to remove them.
Three girls aged 11, five and one, and a boy aged five, are to be put up for adoption or “fostered without contact” because their parents failed to help them slim down.
This means the parents will be unable to trace them and the family could only be reunited if the children attempt to find their family when they are grown up.
Social services warned the couple three years ago that their children would be taken away from them if they did not bring their weight under control.
The family spent two years living in a special council-funded house in which they were placed under a curfew and only three of the children were permitted to live with their parents at any one time.
But although they were placed under constant supervision and social workers observed them during meal times, no dietary rules were imposed and there was no significant improvement in the children’s weight.
On Tuesday social workers informed the parents, who have been married for 20 years, of their decision to permanently remove their children.
The couple, from Dundee, are not guilty of any crime and have faced no accusations of deliberate abuse or cruelty.
Critics said the case, which is without precedent in Britain, was a serious breach of the family’s human rights and exposed the worrying extent to which the State can interfere in family life.
The mother, aged 42, told the Mail on Sunday: “They picked on us because of our size to start with and they just haven’t let go, despite the fact we’ve done everything to lose weight and meet their demands.”
The father, aged 56, added: “The pressure of living in the family unit would have broken anyone. We were being treated like children and cut off from the outside world. To have a social worker stand and watch you eat is intolerable.”
A Dundee City Council spokesperson said: “The council always acts in the best interests of children, with their welfare and safety in mind.”