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National group calls for the return of Dayton children to birth parents

Father D'Rontae Brooks speaks into the microphone with tears in his eyes, surrounded by friends and family under a gazebo in Sandalwood park last Saturday. His children were taken into Child Protective Services' custody last year.
Mawa Iqbal
With tears in his eyes, father D'Rontae Brooks talks about how badly he and his family want their children home. Their twin babies were taken by Montgomery County Child Services last year for suspected abuse.

A nationwide advocacy group called Operation Stop CPS is calling for the return of two Dayton children to their birth parents after being removed from their home by Children Services.

The 10-week old Brooks twins were placed into foster care in May, after the parents noticed a lump on one of the twins' arms and took both kids to the hospital for help.

The parents say this is because of an underlying medical condition, and a judge ordered the twins to be returned home in November.

Child Services, however, objected to the ruling. Mother Arianna Brooks says she and her husband, D’Rontae, have complied with everything the court has ordered them to do.

“Almost two months later and we still don't know the grounds of the objection,’ Arianna said. “They’re not telling us anything.”

The judge is currently reviewing the objection, which could take up to a year, says Amanda Wallace. She is the co-founder of Operation Stop CPS

“Ariana is still breastfeeding,” Wallace said. “She is still pumping for her babies. But this system continues to try to keep them away.”

Wallace drove from Durham, North Carolina to support the Brooks family and raise awareness around their story. They hosted a rally in Sandalwood park in Dayton last weekend. Families from other states attended the demonstration, sharing their experiences with local child protective services and foster care providers.

Carrying pictures of their loved ones, demonstrators blocked Main street as they marched towards the Montgomery County Children Services building. They placed teddy bears with blindfolds on them outside the front doors.

“It's time to bear witness right,” Wallace. “When you see a teddy bear blindfolded, you know that this agency has kidnapped children.”

The parents hope this demonstration will put pressure on the county to overrule CPS’ objection, and return the children to their home.

“We count down every week to visitation day,” Arianna said. “And then every week, we got to leave. It's like reliving the trauma all over again”

Mawa Iqbal is a reporter for WYSO. Before coming to WYSO, she interned at Kansas City PBS's digital magazine, Flatland. There, her reporting focused on higher education and immigrant communities in the Kansas City area. She studied radio journalism at Mizzou, where she also worked for their local NPR-affiliate station as a reporter.