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Death of 4-Year-Old Has Administration for Children's Services Under Fire Again

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Another tragic death of a child once under the watch of the city's child welfare agency has put that department under fire once again. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Myls Dobson joins Nixzmary Brown and Marchella Pierce, children who were the victims of child abuse.

"You would think you get numb after a while hearing about these tragedies, but it just enrages me," said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Dobson's father's girlfriend has been indicted in connection with the 4-year-old's death.

The truth is, the city's child welfare agency's case on Dobson was closed in August of 2013, months before his death in early January.

Myls was supposed to be in the care of his father, Okee Wade. Wade was released from jail in New Jersey on Thursday.

An investigation into what role the city's Administration for Children's Services played in 4-year-old's case is underway.

"We expect a fuller response tomorrow, we will know by the end of the day tomorrow from ACS, from the investigation they're doing," de Blasio said.

"The Myls case is an unfortunate tragedy," said Rose Lovaglio-Miller of Social Service Employees Union Local 371. "ACS, to their credit, actually did remove that child from a parent that had mental health issues and didn't necessarily have the best living arrangement, and they gave that child to his father."

The Dobson case brings back unsettling memories for ACS. In the past five years, the city's child welfare agency has been dramatically overhauled.

Up until this year, case loads had been falling. This fall, the average case load ticked up slightly, a fluctuation that the agency said is normal.

Over the past five years, the number of children in foster care plummeted. The agency honed in on keeping children with families, teaching parents how to parent.

"At one time, the motto was, 'When in doubt, take them out or error on the side of caution,' but now, it's, 'Try to keep the family together,'" Lovaglio-Miller said.

It's an approach that many in the field say that the new commissioner, Gladys Carrion, is likely to continue.

"There is no greater responsibility, nothing more sacred than protecting the lives of children," Carrion said in December.

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