Erie County Children’s Services
Our mission is to serve as a first responder to reported allegations of child abuse and neglect, to investigate such reports in a timely manner and to provide appropriate protective services to children who are found to be abused and neglected in accordance with legal mandates.
Every day we assess reports of abuse or neglect, collaborate with other organizations that serve children Erie County, and help families meet the needs of our community’s most vulnerable children. The safety of the children in our community is always our top priority.
Erie County is available by telephone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have staff on call around the clock to receive reports of abuse or neglect and to handle urgent needs as they arise.
To report a suspected case of abuse or neglect call:
(419) 626-KIDS (5437) – 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
(419) 627-7951 Weekends, Holidays, or after 4:30 p.m.
Intake Investigations Unit
A family assessment is one way that Erie County Children Services helps our community maintain safe and nurturing homes for children. Assessments are our first response to a report of possible child abuse or neglect. They help us understand how well families are functioning and determine if children are safe and getting adequate care.
Our caseworkers visit homes, talk to family members and help them access services to make changes to ensure the children are cared for and safe. Many concerns can be resolved without any services beyond the assessment.
Our goal is to keep families living together. However, if children cannot remain safely within their own home, we work with families to develop a temporary, safe living arrangement.
Family Support Units
Family support is offered when cases need service beyond the assessment. While most children remain in their home, it is sometimes necessary to remove a child to protect him/her from danger. Family support helps families develop the problem-solving skills they need to remain intact and live together in a safe and stable environment.
For children who have been or are at risk of being abused or neglected, we first attempt to keep the family together by coordinating needed services. When it is necessary to remove a child from the home, we work with families to develop the problem-solving skills they need to live together in a safe and stable environment.
Whether the children are in the home, with relatives, or with a foster family, we work in partnership with families to make changes that will reduce the potential for abuse and neglect.
Erie County Job and Family Services holds family team meetings to assist and empower families in developing a plan of action. A family team meeting is a gathering of family members, friends, support people and community specialists who join together to focus on the care and protection of a child. Families talk about their concerns, identify family strengths, and set goals to make their home a safer place for children. We take a team approach to supporting families and protecting children.
- We coordinate needed services, which are provided directly by our caseworkers or through referrals to appropriate community resources
- We hold follow-up meetings to review the progress families make on their goals and participate in wrap around meetings.
- We continually monitor child safety and risk factors as families work toward providing a stable and nurturing environment for children.
Specialized Services Unit
This agency investigates allegations of elder abuse for persons over the age of 60 years old and makes the necessary referrals to assist in their ability to care for themselves. Erie County recognizes the individuals rights and promotes self-sufficiency.
This agency investigates the following types of Elder Abuse:
- Physical Abuse- using coercion or inflicting injury by punching, pushing, slapping, kicking, restraining, cutting, burning or using objects as weapons.
- Sexual Abuse- any type of touching, fondling, or sexual activity, when forced or threatened and without consent.
- Emotional Abuse-verbal threats, intimidation, humiliation and harassment.
- Neglect- intentionally failing to care for an elderly person who cannot care for her/himself without some assistance.
- Financial exploitation- taking advantage of and misusing financial resources of an elderly person.
To learn more about elder abuse click here.
To call and make a report of suspected elder abuse please call (419) 626-6781.
This agency approves and certifies child care homes to provide affordable child care options for families to ensure their children’s daily supervision and care needs are being met. Erie County conducts training, conducts home inspections, background checks, and makes determinates of certification for child care homes.
Quality Improvement/SACWIS Support Unit
Quality Assurance is a continuance of maintaining best practice and compliance with Council on Accreditation and state regulations and requirements. Technical assistance is provided to ensure compliance with , social support, & quality assurance is provided to ensure compliance with all requirements. Social Service support is provided to the Children Services staff to assist them with meeting the requirements and time-frames for case activities.
Karen Balconi-Ghezzi, Director of Erie County JFS
Angel Young, Deputy Director of Social Programs
AJ Lill, Intake Investigations Supervisor
Tina Krueger, Quality Assurance, Child Care and Adult Protective Services Supervisor
Jamie Gfell, Ongoing Unit Supervisor