April 20, 2014

Elyria
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No. 2: Erica Perez arrested for child endangering, shakeup at Children Services ensues

A photo from inside Erica Perez's Lorain home.

On July 5, Lorain mother Erica Perez was arrested and charged with seven counts of child endangering, among other charges, after police found her seven children, dirty and neglected, in Perez’s Long Avenue home. Officers were called to the home after the then-pregnant Perez was reportedly intoxicated and screaming at neighbors.

Perez

Perez’s house contained only a single mattress for the children to sleep on and was filled with garbage.

Coverage of Perez’s arrest led to a shake up at Lorain County Children Services after it was revealed that the agency had been involved with the Perez family since at least 2001, and that Children Services had taken custody of the children in 2008 only to return them to Perez’s care.

Perez’s nine children have at least four different fathers, two of which are incarcerated and one who suffers from schizophrenia and was deemed unable to care for his children.

Children Services took responsibility for its handling of the case, stating in a press release that the agency “clearly should have taken more definitive action in February 2012, especially since there have been multiple referrals to the agency.”

Since then, a caseworker who handled the case resigned and a supervisor was placed on two weeks of unpaid suspension. The agency said it would rework its management structure and change its handling of environmental neglect cases.