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Woman Allowed to Seek Damages from DCFS

Woman Allowed to Seek Damages from DCFS

Posted - Apr. 5, 2004 at 4:54 p.m.



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Jill Atwood ReportingA Layton woman and her lawyer have proven in court that the Division of Child and Family Services messed up--messed up so bad her family could be awarded millions.

Connie Roska's son Rusty was taken by force from her home five years ago by caseworkers. They accused the woman of making her son sick on purpose, a condition known as Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy.

Now, after years of legal battles a judge ruled DCFS was wrong. A federal judge has given the family the go ahead to seek damages, punitive damages, which means a jury could award them millions.

Rusty Roska has been battling illness for years. Five years ago he couldn't eat, he couldn't walk, and he was in constant pain. What's worse, no one could figure out what was wrong. While his mother went from doctor to doctor, a school nurse made a call to DCFS.

It was later determined that Rusty has a rare disease affecting his kidneys and gall bladder; he was also diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome. Still, caseworkers were convinced Roska was purposely making her son sick.

Connie Roska: "Three caseworkers and police officer walked into my home without knocking, without a warrant. I called the doc at the time they were here. She told him not to take him. They took him anyways."

Roska says there was no investigation and no services offered. It would be the beginning of a long and painful five years in and out of court.

Rusty Roska: “Just misery. They took me away from my family. They said I was going to get better and stuff, but I didn’t get better. I just kept getting worse.”

A week later Rusty was placed back with his family, but under constant supervision. Months later the case was dropped. However, Connie Roska would not let it drop, determined to right a wrong. A judge eventually ruled in their favor.

Connie Roska: "They don’t care about the children or what happens. They care about winning. My husband he's had problems coping with it. Tough road for all of us."

Because of this case DCFS now has to have warrants to remove a child. DCFS says this is still a legal battle tied up in the courts. A spokesperson would only say they are working closely with their attorneys.

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