Lorain child services supervisor suspended after seven children found in filthy home

LORAIN, Ohio - The Lorain County Children and Family Services supervisor overseeing the case of a Lorain mother, whose children were found living in filthy conditions, has been suspended.

Public relations manager Patti-Jo Burtnett said Nancy Griffiths "failed to provide necessary supervision and oversight to supervisees to ensure the appropriate concurrent safety plan in seven of her cases, including the case of Eric Perez." Griffiths was put on two weeks suspension without pay, Burtnett said.

On July 5, Lorain officers were called to Perez's house on Lorain Avenue. Police found the pregnant mother of seven drunk and crying in the middle of the road, police said. Inside the home, officers found the children, ages 1 to 9, living with little food in deplorable conditions, child services said. One child was wearing in a feces-soaked diaper.

"The couch was dirty and ripped. There was food and garbage all over the floor. The furniture was black with dirt and the room smelled like urine and garbage," the responding officer wrote in the police report.

Perez was arrested and charged with seven counts of child endangering. Perez pleaded not guilty at her July 6 arraignment. Her two sisters are now caring for the seven children.

Children services said they have been previously called out to the house. Lorain County Children Services case worker Stephen Silva resigned in light of the investigation.

"This case was not an example of the high quality intervention the agency and the community expects of its caseworkers. We are committed to improving our performance and providing high quality intervention and protective services to our community's abused and neglected children," Burtnett said.

The following additional actions were taken by the agency:

- All casework supervisors will have additional training on environmental neglect and managing cases that have multiple referrals.

- All cases will be assessed for environmental neglect regardless of the original complaint.

- The agency will restructure its management and oversight functions to provide closer monitoring of similar cases. the restructuring will include a second manager for the social services department.

- The continuous quality improvement department will use information from this case to potentially recommend additional improvement activities as part of its ongoing improvement cycle.

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