County continues on 'listening tour' following death of Aniya Day-Garrett

CLEVELAND - The Department of Children and Family Services made the second stop on their listening tour Thursday night following the tragic death of Aniya Day-Garrett.

The listening tour is an opportunity to give residents a chance to speak directly with DCFS leadership. The events also give community members the chance to learn more about child protection laws, according to city officials. 

Aniya's father, Mickhal Garrett, called DCFS several times to report her abuse but nothing was done. Earlier this year, Aniya was found dead. Her mother was arrested in connection with her death.

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"This is our opportunity to listen, and to take back some of the information and figure out how we as a system can go back and make some improvements," said DCFS representative Jacqueline McCray.

DCFS and other county departments met with members of the community in small groups to talk policy and change.

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Garrett was among the crowd Thursday night.

"Aniya spoke, but no one listened, they wouldn't listen to her, they wouldn't even listen to me, and I did everything I could to protect my daughter," he said.

With his daughter's picture in tow and her image on his jacket, he demanded her caseworkers, who belong to a union,  be fired.

"What penalty is imposed for caseworkers who submit false reports?" Garrett asked.

"I didn't get justice for what happened to me in foster care, so I want to make sure someone else gets justice," said Destiny Hegwood.

Hegwood is a product of the foster care system and wants things to change. Although she says she's appreciative of the opportunity, she wanted more from the evening.

"I do feel like a lot of questions went unanswered, a lot of things were overlooked, and the same things were said in several different ways which are not a solution when you are still confused at the end of the day," she said.

RELATED: Cuyahoga County Executive outlines DCFS plan following death of 4-year-old Aniya Day-Garrett

The department acknowledged things are not perfect but are inviting more residents to speak out.

The next stop on tour is Thursday, June 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Lion of Judah, 15716 Broadway Ave., Maple Heights.

  • Hanna Elementary School, 11212 Snow Rd., Parma, OH 44130, Tuesday, June 19, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

  • Garfield Middle School, 13114 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, OH 44107, Saturday, June 23, 10:00 a.m. - Noon

  • Euclid Public Library, 631 East 222nd St., Euclid, OH 44123, Saturday, June 30, 10:00 a.m. - Noon

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