Case of Abused Boy, 4, Will Lead to Child Welfare Changes: Mayor

A review of the case involving a 4-year-old boy found dead in a Times Square apartment after he was abused and starved has revealed several improvements needed in the child welfare system, Mayor de Blasio said Friday.

De Blasio said some of the changes will be enacted immediately, while others may need legislation. Any mistakes made by child welfare workers were more "missed opportunities" rather than violations of procedure, the city said.

"Our duties are to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again," he said.

One change will be to require a final Family Court appearance in all abuse and neglect cases that get closed. 

The child who died, Myls Dobson, had been known to child welfare authorities since 2011 when a neglect case was brought against his mother, sources close to the investigation told NBC 4 New York.

The child was living with his grandmother when his father, Okee Wade, petitioned for custody of the child, the sources said.

Wade was granted custody in August of 2012 but on the condition that child protective services visit the boy twice a month for one year. Those visits stopped the following summer, right around the time a warrant was issued for Wade's arrest following an racketeering indictment in June for allegedly siphoning money from bank accounts in Atlantic City.

Wade left his son in the custody of a caregiver on Dec. 18 and was shortly after arrested in the New Jersey case.

The 27-year-old caregiver has been accused of abusing and starving him in the weeks before he died.

De Blasio said the city would also seek state legislation that would allow child welfare officials to better track and supervise parents who are not the subject of a child welfare investigation but who care for a child under agency supervision. 

Further, the mayor said the city wants child welfare authorities to have greater access to criminal court cases. Currently they can access information about convictions, but not active arrests that have yet to lead to a conviction, he said.

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