CYFD worker faces child abuse charges

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By David Giuliani

An employee of a state agency that looks out for children is accused of child endangerment.

Justina Romero, 27, 545 Hermosa Lane, was charged last week in connection with a drug investigation. She faces three counts of abandonment or abuse of children.

She works as an in-home services worker at the local office of the Protective Services Division of the state Children, Youth and Families Department.

Department spokeswoman Romaine Serna said last week that Romero is on paid administrative leave and is the subject of an internal investigation. Serna declined to discuss the custody of Romero’s children.

Romero is the wife of Alex Romero, who was arrested a week earlier on numerous drug and child endangerment charges.

He was charged after police searched his business, Urban Wear, 428 Grand Ave., and the Romeros’ house at 545 Hermosa Lane.

The Region IV Narcotics Task Force has said that agents found large quantities of suspected crack cocaine, powder cocaine, marijuana and several high-powered firearms at the two locations. In so doing, authorities said they dismantled a major drug operation in the area.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court, the task force searched a car that Justina Romero was driving and found crack cocaine and powder cocaine on Alex Romero’s person. Also in the car were Justina Romero’s two children, ages 5 and 2, police said.

The task force also found drugs and drug paraphernalia used to weigh and package narcotics inside Justina and Alex Romero’s house, according to the complaint. The two children, as well as an 11-year-old child, had easy access to the drugs and the guns, the task force said.