The Huff family is a normal American family except for the fact that Laura Hope Huff is in a wheelchair. This disability led Indiana’s Department of Child Services to remove both of the Huff children from their parents’ custody. It never should have happened and the Huffs are trying to make sure it never happens to anyone else.
According to the lawsuit filed by Tom Blessing of Massillamany Jeter & Carson, LLP, the State of Indiana conducted an “unreasonable search and seizure” of the Huffs’ children and interrogated them “without a warrant, parental consent, probable cause or exigent circumstances.” The lawsuit alleges that the Indiana DCS also violated the Huffs’ First Amendment right to exercise their religious beliefs, filed false affidavits in court, and placed Adam Huff on the Child Protective Index of persons “having been found to have committed acts of ‘substantiated’ child abuse or neglect,” which he cannot get off of even though the state dropped its case against the Huffs.
The lawsuit is seeking an injunction to remove Adam Huff from the offender registry and also to stop DCS from violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by removing children from the custodial care of a disabled parent simply because he or she is disabled.
The claims against the Huffs originated with a false report made by a cousin who alleged she had witnessed abuse by Adam Huff but waited a year to tell anyone about it. After a DCS home visit with police in 2018, authorities determined there was nothing to the report and that the children were well taken care of and not suffering any abuse. DCS claimed they would close out the file and left. But instead of closing out the case, DCS returned to the home a few days later and demanded that the Huffs’ oldest daughter be interrogated by a forensic investigator without either parent present.
DCS removed the daughter from the home at that time for questioning without a warrant or any claims of exigent circumstances that would justify her removal from her home. Instead of being interviewed by the promised “forensic investigator,” the Huffs’ pre-teen daughter was interrogated by a male police officer with no lawyer or advocate present, which is a violation of DCS policy. Following that interview, DCS tried to remove the Huffs’ daughter from their custody and place her into foster care but since the allegations were against Adam, he decided to move out rather than cause the children to be taken from their home and mother. DCS agreed to let the children stay with Laura since she had not been accused of any abuse or neglect.
DCS then filed a false report with the court claiming that they had exigent circumstances to remove the children from the home without a court order, which they never had. Consequently, the caseworker showed up on the Huffs’ doorstep on the morning of their hearing demanding to take custody of the children so she would not “look bad in front of the judge,” since she had lied about removing the children to the court.
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Both children were then taken to the courthouse by DCS. In that hearing, DCS claimed that the children must be removed from the care of Adam Huff because of pending criminal charges against him. There were no pending criminal charges against Huff. DCS further argued that Laura Huff was not able to care for her children because she was in a wheelchair and had “mobility issues.” The judge granted the request from DCS and removed both children from the care of their parents despite there being no allegation against Laura Huff of any abuse or neglect. The lawsuit alleges that the court discriminated against her on the basis of her disability, claiming she could not care for her children because she cannot walk.
While the Huff children were in foster care, they suffered neglect they never faced at home. They were not allowed to wear the clean clothes they owned and instead were forced to strip and choose dirty, worn clothes from a bag of used clothes. They weren’t allowed to keep their own shoes and instead were forced to give them up for ill-fitting shoes like they were prisoners. The Huffs’ daughter could not get a hairbrush for a week. The children were prohibited from sharing a room in foster care and were not permitted to see their parents without supervision. They missed Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Huff children’s Bibles were also confiscated under state care.
Laura Huff said the neglect began the very first day DCS took the children from them. “They came right as we were sitting down for dinner so I asked them if there would be food for my children when we got to the DCS office for questioning. They told me there would be. But they didn’t feed my kids. They went hungry that night. There was no food,” Huff told PJ Media. You can hear a full interview with the Huff family and their lawyer Tom Blessing on my podcast “The Fringe” on PJ Media VIP here.
Indiana DCS conveniently dropped the case against the Huffs just a few days before they were to have a fact-finding hearing where the Huffs intended to show evidence of the department’s negligence and discriminatory to the court. But despite dropping the case and admitting there was no evidence the Huffs had ever abused their children, DCS did not remove Adam Huff from the child abusers list. This list will damage his career and reputation permanently.
The lawsuit seeks $3 million in damages for violations of the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment as well as violations of the ADA, violations of due process, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, frivolous litigation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“DCS has earned a well-deserved reputation as a rogue agency with little regard for the rights of parents of the very children it is charged with protecting, but this is one of the worst abuses of state power I’ve seen,” Attorney Tom Blessing told PJ Media.
“It is appalling that state authorities would knowingly use false information as a basis to remove children from the care of their parents,” he said. “As if that weren’t bad enough, DCS added insult to injury when it put my client on its database of child molesters. We’re hoping this lawsuit helps to reign in this out-of-control agency and bring about some meaningful reforms so it stops violating parents’ civil rights once and for all.”
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