DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Montgomery County Children Services tells 2 NEWS they did not have an investigation open at the time of 10-year-old Takoda Collins’ death.
In May of 2019, a woman identifying herself as Takoda Collins’ mother called 911, alleging her son was being abused and requesting a wellness check.
Police records show officers did respond to his home, but at the time the law did not require them to notify Children Services. That law changed a few months before Takoda’s death, mandating law enforcement to report instances of suspected abuse.
“Law enforcement’s going to turn around and call Child Protection in those instances, so we will be out there in tandem with law enforcement,” said Jewell Good, Assistant Director with Montgomery County Job and Family Services.
A 3-year-old child who was also in the home is now being taken care of.
“We have assured that child’s safety, so we’ve looked at what are the resources available for placement. But I can’t speak to any specifics about that,” Good said.
Dayton Public Schools reports that in July of 2018 Collins’ father, Al-Mutahan McLean, removed the boy from school in order to homeschool him.
That removal also did not trigger an automatic report to Children Services.
“We don’t get notified when that happens. I think it would be nice at times if we could get notification that a child’s been pulled from the school system,” says Good.
Meanwhile, Takoda’s grieving family is expressing their frustration at the situation, urging officials to follow up if they suspect abuse:
“They [the system] didn’t physically abuse him and stuff like that, but they need to check into stuff. And it can’t be just a couple weeks, you’ve got to follow up on it,” said Collins’ uncle, Steven Crabtree.
Good adds that one of the department’s challenges is working within the framework of the legal system.
“We have a pendulum that swings and that pendulum is balancing parental rights with child rights. And we kind of live in the middle of that. We’re always trying to balance both of those.”
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