Ruling Could Allow More DCYF Lawsuits To Be Tried In Public

Apr 14, 2017

A ruling in a high-profile case involving the state's child protection agency, the Division for Children, Youth and Families, may clear the way for confidentiality to be waived in future legal proceedings involving DCYF.

The case involves the sexual abuse of young girls carried out by their biological parents. The children were under the care of DCYF, and the case is being brought by the girls' grandparents. The state wants the legal proceedings to be confidential. But a ruling by Superior Court Judge Gillian Abramson dismissed the state's argument as being driven by an interest in minimizing public exposure of their alleged errors.

Attorney Rus Rilee represents the plaintiffs in the case, as well as families of other children harmed while under DCYF care.

He sees this ruling as clearing the way for other cases which the state would prefer to be tried in private, to proceed publicly.

"This lays the foundation for us to make the argument with respect to the waiver of confidentiality in every single case that we file, on behalf of Brielle Gage, on behalf of Sadie Willott, and on behalf of many other clients that we now have."

In this case, the state had argued that since the plaintiffs, the girls' grandparents, suffered no direct harm, they should not be able to sue DCYF, an argument Judge Abramson rejected.