Children Services addresses fatalities

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — A recent article published by Dayton Daily News called out Children Services for failing to protect children in the system. However, Job and Family Services Director Becky Sorrell took exception to that claim with regard to Preble County.

She attended the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 1, to present her September report. During the report she brought up the article which focused on child fatalities and included two cases from Preble County.

“It is an article about child fatalities throughout Ohio and it highlights 19 childhood fatalities in which the child was either in the custody of Children Services or involved with Children Services. I just want to talk about that for a little bit, because there are two children from Preble County who are in that list,” Sorrell said.

“Every time there is a child death that is associated with Children Services, there is an investigation that looks at the circumstances and tries to determine if there are things that could have been prevented along the way, in order to try to prevent similar outcomes in the future.

“I wanted to make it clear that this article puts a lot of weight on Children Services’ decisions — and the final decision on whether a child returns home or is removed ultimately is made by the judge. While the agency does make recommendations, so do many other organizations. Our office does regular home visits and sees each child face to face as much as possible.”

“We do thorough assessments,” Sorrell said. “There are specific assessment tools required by the State that we have to use to assess risks. We never return or remove a child as a light decision. We always put a lot of effort into deciding what the best decision is for the child. We absolutely believe that child fatalities is a tragedy, however, it is a very small percentage of children that we work with.

“This article is highlighting 19 child fatalities that happened over, sometimes, years. Some of those cases are 10 years ago. One of the things that this article says is that the system often fails to protect children, but this is a very small percentage of children. It is still not little nor acceptable, but this article is blaming Children Services workers who are often missing time with their own families to insure the safety of these children.”

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH