The Ohio House of Representatives today passed a bill to provide more accountability and oversight to child abuse reporting in the wake of the 2019 death of Dayton 10-year-old Takoda Collins after what police say was years of abuse.
House Bill 4 would require children services agencies to disclose confidential information discovered during a child abuse or neglect investigation to federal, state and local government entities, and requires cross-reporting from children services agencies and law enforcement, including written notice of a receipt of report or close of an investigation.
“This bill will protect our vulnerable children and encourage more collaboration in getting them the help they need in order to prevent tragedies like this from happening again,” said state Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Dayton, one of the bill’s sponsors.
A Dayton Daily News investigation found that Takoda’s death followed reports of concerns by Dayton Public Schools employees and involvement with Dayton police. Montgomery County this week settled a lawsuit with Takoda’s estate for $3.25 million.
An amendment was added in the House committee that would create a Children Services Ombudsman Program to investigate and resolve concerns and complaints from and on behalf of children and families, according to a release from the state.
“We believe having more people collaboratively working on the case can help improve the outcome for the child,” said bill sponsor Susan Manchester, R-Waynesfield. “This bill provides another layer of protection for our youth at-risk.”
The bill passed the House with a vote of 88-1 and will now go to the Ohio Senate for consideration.