The father of 4-year-old Myls Dobson has been temporarily released from jail to make funeral arrangements for his abused son this weekend. The preschooler died on January 8, while in the custody of his father's girlfriend. Meanwhile, statistics show some six million children are abused every year in the United States and five of them die every single day. Social workers are mobilizing to make sure the public knows the warning signs. Cheryl Wills filed the following report.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s had strong words in the wake of the horrific starvation and beating death of 4-year-old Myls Dobson.
"It is very, very painful to know that this child went through such agony,” de Blasio said.
The tragedy has triggered the mayor's office and local agencies to alert the public about identifying signs of child abuse.
"We really wanted to issue this child abuse alert because I think that there's a lot of people in the community who may see things and not necessarily know what they're seeing,” said Joanna Kibel of the Jewish Child Care Association.
The Jewish Child Care Association is taking swift action and mailing booklets free of charge to anyone who needs guidance identifying a child in distress.
The organization spells out four key types of maltreatment: physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation.
Signs of physical abuse include bruises, bite marks, burns and broken bones.
"A child may come to school on a very hot summer day with long sleeves on because their parent wanted to hide any kind of indication of abuse,” said Kibel.
In cases of neglect, warning signs include significant weight loss, hunger, clothing that's not in line with the season and poor dental hygiene.
Little Myls, who exhibited many of these signs including burns and loss of weight, was hidden in plain sight inside a luxury high rise in midtown Manhattan, yet no one came to his aid.
That's why the Jewish Child Care Association urges people to call the state's hotline to report cases, even if they don't have all of the facts.
"We really urge people who are in the community who might see some signs really to make the call because that can save a child's life,” said Kibel.
Kryzie King, 27, has been charged in connection with Myls Dobson's death. The boy's father turned custody over to King after he was arrested.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal has sponsored a bill known as "Myls Law," which would prevent children like Myls from falling through the cracks when a parent is taken into police custody.
To get a copy of the free booklet, call 212-558-9972.
To report child abuse, call The New York State Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-342-3720. Anonymous calls are accepted.