Perez child neglect case leads to changes at Lorain County Children Services

She said the male worker had tried to take the kids away at least twice this summer. Once around June 15 when they came to the house to get the children and Perez would not let him in. The grandmother was there and was upset that Perez would not let them in, she said. The second time was on June 28 when he came by with a pool and tried to get the children.

She met the social worker in March and said he had come because there were allegations that the children were seeing porn on the mom’s phone.

“They were complaining at school about how they were coming to school stinking,” she said of the children. “He was like, ‘Well things gotta change. So I started getting the kid’s clothes, washing them and everything so they could go to school clean. Once school was out they were supposed to go to her (Perez’s) mother in Florida. And school was out and they were still there and I don’t know what was going on.”

She said she called police three times prior to reporting the July 5 incident, but they said they couldn’t enter the premise.

Perez accused someone of taking her cell phone on July 5, Austin said. She told her she didn’t have it. “She was drunk, belligerent, the kids were all in the street so I said I’m going to call the police. When the police came out, one of the kids pulled the curtain down and that’s when the police officer saw for himself and that’s when he told her he would have to enter the house,” she said.

“How could they live like that, all the money the state was giving her for the kids?” Austin asked. She understood that Perez was getting Supplemental Security Income checks for three or four of the children, in addition to about $1,300 in food stamps. “She was keeping herself together, but the kids was just … when those checks came in she turned herself into a totally different person.” Austin said she bought her great-niece clothes and bathed her on multiple occasions because she was concerned.

Her niece’s father, Al Johnson, is on disability and cannot apply for custody, Austin said. She added he tried to get visits with his daughter, but Perez would only allow him to take her across the street to Austin’s house. She hope’s Johnson’s mother is doing something to get custody of the 2-year-old girl, who along with the other children are with Perez’s sisters. Austin said multiple fathers are involved, but she didn’t see them aside from Johnson.

Several other warning signs led to Austin’s growing concerns. Multiple times Perez would leave the house around 8 p.m. and wouldn’t come back to the next day. “Those kids were left alone in the house ample times unattended,” she said of the eight children who lived in a three bedroom house. The oldest child, a 12-year-old boy, was often left to care for the children.

Austin said two of the children are on medications and believes they have a behavioral problems. Another child has a heart problem and seizures, Austin said of the child whom she used to baby-sit. She said he was rushed to the hospital in June for four days. “She came right from the hospital with him handed him over to her oldest child, got in the car with somebody else and then didn’t come back to the next day to 10 in the morning,” she said. Austin called the police, but said she was told they said they couldn’t enter the premises.

Several people knew about the conditions, Austin said. “The teachers from the school they had start coming and doing the laundry. The church people helped,” she said of Perez who was receptive to help. In March, Austin and some local Jehovah Witnesses helped clean her house. “We tried to help but I went back over there three or four days later and it looked like we hadn’t done nothing,” she said. “It was unlivable, but the social worker knew that those kids were living like that. They didn’t have to live like that, she had the income for them to live better than they were living.” Continued…

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