BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — City caseworkers saw no prior evidence that the mother of a 2-year-old killed in a Brooklyn fire last week had trouble taking care of her child, officials said.
Before the fatal blaze on Feb. 23, the city’s Administration for Children’s Services investigated three complaints regarding the welfare of 2-year-old Kaleenah Muldrow, but found no indication that the toddler’s needs weren't being met, according to the agency.
The girl’s body was found hours after the fire tore through the top apartment at 755 Monroe St. near Patchen Avenue last Tuesday, according to police.
Leila Aquino, 20, told officials that she had left the child home alone since 12 a.m. and returned to the apartment after the blaze was extinguished searching for her daughter, according to court papers.
She was arrested on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and reckless endangerment, according to police.
Previous anonymous calls to the New York State child abuse hotline said that the home was in poor condition and lacked adequate food.
Details released by ACS were first reported by NBC New York.
The most recent call on Feb. 15 raised worries that Kaleenah was being left with people for extended periods of time, according to ACS.
The caller did not say Ms. Aquino had left the child alone, ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrión told the New York Times.
Following the call, a city caseworker visited the Monroe Street home, where the child “appeared healthy” and Aquino “seemed caring and attentive,” according to reports.
“Everything that could have been done was done," Carrión told the Times. “Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20. We think we did a probing investigation based on the allegations that we received. I don’t think there’s anything we could have done differently.”
Caseworkers visited the apartment after each of the three calls and made suggestions to help improve parenting skills since she was a young, single mother, the agency said.
“There was not an indication that she was having any problems taking care of the child,” Carrión told the newspaper. “There was no basis for removal.”
The commissioner added that "the mother was very caring."
ACS helped place Kaleenah in a daycare, according to the agency, and Aquino was already meeting twice a month with a caseworker from a preventative service agency under contract with the city for resources to help her as a parent.
Aquino was released on Thursday on $10,000 bail, according to court records. Her lawyer declined to comment.