February 26, 2020
(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Earlier today, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine received notice of an infant fatality in Montgomery County. The case contained numerous similarities to that of Takoda Collins, a ten-year-old boy from Dayton who died on December 13, 2019. Takoda passed away roughly 19 months after his alternative response case was closed by Montgomery County Children Services.
Due to these similarities, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is directing a team of Technical Assistance Specialists from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to conduct a review, in partnership with Montgomery County Children Services, of Montgomery County’s alternative response cases from the previous six months.
“It’s our obligation to ensure that Ohio’s children have the best possible chance to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. We must ensure that our county children services agencies are keeping that promise,” said Governor DeWine. “By initiating this review, we are working to ensure the safety of our children and that those charged with protecting them have the resources they need.”
In 2010, Ohio’s children services agencies transitioned to a differential response system, which provides two options for responding to reports of child abuse and neglect – the traditional response and the alternative response. An alternative response can be used when a report does not allege serious or imminent harm. Unlike traditional response cases, alternative response cases do not involve the court system. Rather, caseworkers partner with families to ensure they receive the services and supports they need to keep the children safe. A safety and risk assessment must still be completed for all alternative response cases to maintain children’s safety.