My husband and I were accused by DCF of child abuse and neglect (in that order)of my sister's six year old autistic daughter. She said something in school that was misconstrued.
There was supposed to be an investigation within 10 days, but DCF never spoke with us because the DA told them not to, which goes against MGL. When I called DCF, they refused to speak to me and when I went to their office and delivered written requests for copies of any paperwork for us, they never sent it. The social worker told me to "talk to the police". Only after getting a lawyer involved did we receive our documents two months later.
They decided I did nothing wrong but my husband had to wait over a year for a so-called "fair hearing" while his name was added to a "perp list". Two hours after the hearing, DCF reversed their original findings due to "reasonable doubt".
But so much irreparable harm had been done to all of us. We were separated from my niece for six months because DCF and the DA put pressure on my sister, who knew this was all rubbish. There were never any charges from the DA to do NO EVIDENCE. My niece, who was accustomed to spending weekends with us and seeing us frequently during the week, was in therapy due to the trauma of being ripped away from her uncle and me. Her own pediatrician and counselor said there were absolutely no physical or emotional signs of any abuse. My nieces only problem was the pain and confusion of seemingly being abandoned by us. DCF lied to my sister telling her that a pediatric psychologist familiar with Autism would question my niece for the SANE interview, but it was the DA's assistant with no such training. It caused tremendous stress on my sister's relationship with her boyfriend. My husband suffered severe emotional trauma and anxiety and had to be hospitalized one night, and was out of work for seven months. His business nearly collapsed. Our marriage suffered. We gave up our hopes of adopting a child. People who knew us well looked at us differently. The stigma attached to such accusations never goes away. It has been over a year since the hearing cleared his name but the emotional and financial affects remain. We will never be the same.
I want to sue DCF. I want the public to know how evil they can be. They omitted facts from their reports, broke their own rules under Mass law, and destroyed our lives.
My husband is afraid to sue out of fear of retaliation. They made false allegations against us. Perhaps they might do it to my sister and take her daughter away. One lawyer said he had never seen this happen, but that it is very difficult to win a case against DCF.
So my question is this: Has anyone ever sued them and won, what is involved, and is it worth the pain?
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