A grassroots group organized in response to Takoda Collins’ death had its first meeting Sunday, drawing together about 60 people committed to advocating to protect other children from danger.
The 10-year-old Dayton boy died after what investigators say was an “extreme” case of child abuse.
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Co-organizer Polly Parks, who also helped host a community memorial after his death, said that while she didn’t know Takoda, she felt compelled to take action, which led to the organization of “Takoda’s Call.”
Montgomery County officials announced Jan. 15 they launched an internal review into how Children Services handled multiple reports of abuse and neglect they received over the years prior to his death on Dec. 13.
“We’re still grieving over this little boy that none of us knew … that grief is what is propelling us to make a difference. That grief is what is causing us to move forward and we’re here to stay. We’re not going away,” Parks said.
Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli previously told the Dayton Daily News that employees contacted Children Services 15 times, until he was removed by his father in 2018 for homeschooling.
Parks said the public needs answers to unanswered questions surrounding how his death could happen.
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“We need to know ‘what is the problem?’ I think people in Montgomery County are wanting to know what happened,” she said.
Community advocates Jo’el Jones and Shenise Turner-Sloss volunteered to draft formal language petitioning for change in transparency and accountability.
Members agreed to come out for the Feb. 4 Montgomery County commissioner meeting to show their concern through a show of attendance and were aiming to be more formally organized around demands for change by the Feb. 11 county commissioner meeting.
The Sunday meeting at Hopeland Church on Miller Lane was a wide ranging hour and a half conversation, as attendees questioned who should be held responsible, weighed what policies could prevent more tragedy, and pledged to continue to come together as a group to make a difference.
“This is a movement. It’s not a one-time meeting,” said Jones, who is also running for the Democratic nomination for Ohio House District 39.
State Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Dayton, who was also in attendance at the meeting, said there needs to be transparency, better communication, and that he is also looking at legislative solutions.
“We can’t have another Takoda … That’s our job as adults to protect them,” Plummer said.
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