DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A group formed in response to the death of a local boy has received so much information and feedback it has put a planned public presentation on hold.
The group, TakodasCall, formed after the death of 10-year-old Takoda Collins of 1934 Kensington Dr., had its first meeting on Sunday, Feb. 2. Co-founder Karen Bocko said the group has put its planned Feb. 11 presentation at the Montgomery County Commissioners meeting on a tentative hold.
Bocko said herself and co-founder Polly Parks are going through a flood of information they’ve received in the wake of TakodasCall’s first meeting on Sunday, Feb. 2 at Hopeland Church on Miller Lane.
“Since the meeting I’ve been contacted by six individuals,” Bocko said. “They’ve reached out because there are kids that have been or are currently stuck in the failures of the system. They feel trapped.”
Takoda Collins died Dec. 13 at Dayton Children’s Hospital. His father, Al-Mutahan McClean, is facing seven counts in Montgomery County Criminal Court, including endangering children and the rape of someone under the age of 13. Two other adults who lived at the home – Amanda Hinze and Jennifer Ebert – are also facing several counts of endangering children. All three are in Montgomery County Jail and are the focus of a homicide investigation by the Dayton Police Department.
Since Collins’s death, Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli told WDTN.com abuse complaints were made by DPS staff to Montgomery County Jobs and Family Services 17 times while he was a student. The County Commissioners announced an internal investigation of the agency two weeks ago after staff at Horace Mann Elementary School, where Collins’s attended, sent emails to local legislators demanding action in the wake of his death.
Bocko said she’s been overwhelmed by the information she’s received and news articles since the meeting. She said she’s also received information and articles on cases out of state similar to the Collins case.
“There are children now in the Miami Valley who are severely at risk,” Bocko said. “It’s (because of ) the non-transparency in the system and that has to change.”
Plummer wants more engagement from current legislators
Seventy people attended Sunday’s meeting, according to Ohio State Rep. Phil Plummer. The former Montgomery County Sheriff told WDTN.com on Monday roughly 70 people attended the meeting. He described the group as being very grassroots.
Montgomery County Commission candidate Arlene Setzer was at the meeting. Plummer told WDTN.com on Monday he was disappointed more incumbent politicians weren’t there.
“Why they wouldn’t engage in the concerns of their citizens is beyond me,” Plummer said. “They hold the purse strings and they’re the policymakers.”
Plummer said he was happy to see so many attend the meeting. He said fixing problems in the children’s services system now are key to success for children as they get into their teens and adulthood.
“It can lead to bigger problems like substance abuse, human trafficking, many things,” Plummer said. “There are a lot of people who are engaged in the system, who are frustrated with the system and aren’t getting the answers they want. It’s a very diverse group with a lot of energy.”
Information on TakodasCall can be found at TakodasCall.org.
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