INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis family is suing the Indiana Department of Child Services for removing two children from their home in late 2018.
Adam and Laura Huff said the DCS action was the result of a false claim of abuse leveled at the father that was eventually not substantiated.
“The case arises from a situation where DCS made false allegations against our clients and made false allegations in filings in court in order to remove children from the family home,” said attorney Tom Blessing. “They conducted an illegal interrogation. They would not let the brother and sister stay together or take their personal belongings with them when they were removed from the home.”
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court alleges DCS did not adhere to its own policies while allegedly violating the family’s 1st, 4th and 14th Amendment rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“There are a couple core issues but one of them is how DCS treats people with disabilities. If you have a disability, they think you are not fit to be a parent is how that came across,” said Adam. “And when they went to court, they told the judge, ‘She can’t have her kids because she has mobility issues.’
“There is no accountability. There are people who are weaponizing DCS because they have a grudge against us and there’s no way to stop them from being weaponized.”
The Huffs said after four months of disruption which included the children being removed from the home and their father being prohibited from the residence, DCS dropped the case two days before an evidentiary hearing even as the family claims the agency ignored their exculpatory evidence to prove the alleged abuse never happened.
“The heart of the lawsuit is the U.S. Constitutional guarantee to raise your kids the way you see fit,” said Blessing. “The entire premise for removing the children from the family home was false, based on a lie. DCS lied to justify removing the children from the home.”
Laura said her children remain traumatized by the incident.
“They’re more aggressive now and they’re more scared in that we teach them right from wrong, ‘Tell the truth, the truth will prevail’, which it didn’t in this case,” she said. “I’m very angry that the system that is supposed to protect your children actually abused my children.
“They turned on my daughter and came after my daughter and nobody comes after my children, nobody, not only the government.”
In response, DCS issued the following statement:
State and federal confidentiality laws prohibit DCS from disclosing information, including even if a child is in DCS’ care. The agency investigates allegations of child abuse and neglect and makes recommendations to the court based on the evidence at hand. DCS is charged with ensuring the safety of Indiana children whether that is by providing services, support and resources to maintain the family or removing a child from a home due to abuse or neglect.
The Huffs are seeking $3 million in damages.
“We want to be a voice for other parents, too,” said Adam, “because by the time the dust settles, ‘We just want to hide under a rock and we don’t want to hear anything ever again from DCS,’ but no one wants to fix it.”