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State report outlines ongoing issues at Scioto Children’s Services after child death cases

A report from the state says the Scioto agency has not sufficiently addressed child safety issues.
Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 10:06 PM EST
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SCIOTO COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) - An agency tasked with helping children in difficult and sometimes life-threatening situations is being called out for not doing enough to address child safety issues.

A state report made available to WSAZ on Friday outlines ongoing problems with Scioto County Children’s Services following several child death cases.

In June of 2019, 6-month old Dylan Groves was found dead at the bottom of a well in Scioto County.

In 2020, Dylan’s mother was sentenced to life without parole for aggravated murder and sentenced to 32 years combined for murder, kidnapping, child endangerment, tampering with evidence, interference with custody, gross abuse of a corpse and four counts of felonious assault.

Dylan’s father Daniel Groves was sentenced to 15 years to life for murder, as well as consecutive sentences that amounted to 47 years to life on all the other charges, including the murder charge.

In September 2019, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) met with the Scioto County Children Services Board (SCCSB) director to present the draft report of the child fatality review.

The review found that the SCCSB was out compliance with Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) rules. Given the serious nature of the findings that contributed to the non-compliance, SCCSB was required to submit a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) detailing the steps it would take to improve practice within 30 days of the date the final report was issued.

The state claimed Scioto Children’s Services mishandled the case and didn’t follow required procedures.

Fast forward to 2022, following two more child fatalities in which there were already open cases, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services says the Scioto County agency still has not sufficiently addressed child safety issues.

The summary from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services Office of Families and Children, which was sent to the agency on Tuesday, outlined what’s been done since 2019 to try to help Scioto County Children’s Services.

It says a rapid response team has been providing intensive support and made recommendations on how to improve operations, but at best, the Scioto board “has had mixed success with implementing the recommendations as it grapples with abnormally high caseloads, caseworker turnover, increasing numbers of children in agency custody, and limited community support.”

The summary says the number of children in the agency’s custody has gone up from 224 children in December of 2019 to 379 children in December of 2021.

Out of 36 recommendations, the summary says 20 have not been implemented at all.

The summary says the state has offered longer-term and intensive technical assistance above what’s normally provided to other counties, and the state will also be bringing in an outside vendor to help their rapid response team with the ongoing issues.

WSAZ reached out to Scioto County Children’s Services Friday for comment but was told director Jason Mantell was out of the office.

For more information about the Dylan Groves case, tap here. To read more about another infant death case in Scioto County, tap here and here.

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