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  Marlyn Place Foster Care ‘Mom’ Charged With Child Abuse  
  ‘The child told the social worker he was often beaten with coat hangers and belts, and that other foster children in the home also beat him.’:   April 11, 2019 Edition  
Alfreda Atkins
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      Boardman police have charged a 63-year-old foster home operator with two counts of child abuse following an investigation by Sgt. Michael Sweeney into allegations that surfaced after a social worker at Child Advocacy Center at Akron Childrens Hospital determined a 4-year-old boy showed signs of abuse and neglect.
      Alfreda Atkins was arrested last weekend by Ptl. Evan Beil and Ptl. Joe Lamping on warrants signed by Boardman Court Judge Joseph Houser.
      Atkins, also known as Alfreda White and Freda Burns, has operated a foster home at 351 Marlyn Place. Since Mar. 1, 2014, police have logged 46 calls to the home.
      Boardman police were sent to the Advocacy Center on Mar. 19, after an Alta Preschool employee notified a social worker the child “had several suspicious marks and showed other signs of abuse and neglect,” Officer Beil said.
      “Alta further advised [the child] often smelled like urine and feces, suffered from poor oral hygiene and came to school in clothes that were soiled and often were too small,” Officer Beil said.
      The child told the social worker he was often beaten with coat hangers and belts, and that other foster children in the Marlyn Place home also beat him.
      “Due to the issues, [the boy] and remaining foster children are being removed from the home,” Officer Beil said.
      While investigating the allegations of child abuse, police were also told a man with a criminal record also lived at the home.
      According to Officer Beil, the social worker said the man was “not supposed to be at the foster home because of his criminal record.”
      The 4-year-old boy was placed into the home last fall by the Cuyahoga County Childrens Services Agency and the foster care facility operates outside of the jurisdiction of Mahoning County Childrens Services.
      “[The Marlyn Place] address is not a home which the Mahoning County Children Services Board has recommended nor maintains,” Jennifer Kollar, public information officer told The Boardman News.
      Sgt. Sweeney said the home is operated under the jurisdiction of Ohio Mentor, Inc, of Stutz Dr., Canfield, Oh.
      Records on file with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office show the filing agent for Ohio Mentor Inc. is the Institute for Family Centered Services Inc., of Boston, Mass.
      Alyssa Mott, of Ohio Mentor, told Boardman Township Planning/Zoning Director Krista Beniston that 351 Marlyn Place “is a treatment/therapeutic foster home for children with mental health issues,” but she was not sure what agency licensed the home.
      Mott told Beniston that someone from Ohio Mentor visits the property bi-monthly and that therapists are in the home several times a week.
      In Dec., 2017, The Boardman News contacted Chip Bonsutto, executive director of Ohio Mentor, in Fairlawn, Oh., who refused to answer questions about what agency places children into 351 Marlyn Pace.
      Atkins made an initial appearance in Bardman Court on Tuesday and entered a plea of not guilty.
 
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