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DCF and Defamation

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  • DCF and Defamation

    I am at my wit's end trying to figure out how to deal with the Department of Children and Families in Vermont.

    I am a father of a 10 year old girl. I have full custody. I work at a school, and coach an all girl's running team called Girls On The Run.

    In 2015, I was falsely accused of abuse. This is the type of thing that anybody can be accused of at any time. All it takes is somebody willing to lie.

    In 2016, the false allegations led to DCF bringing a case against me in Vermont Juvenile Court. The judge threw out the case, and ordered DCF not place me on their abuse registry. Against the judge's orders, DCF added me to it anyway.

    It is now 2022. I am still on their registry. It affects me in my day to day life. DCF, a supposed impartial entity meant to protect children calls my work, calls Girls On The Run, and calls community members in my area telling them that I am an abuser. They continue to spread this around my community and leave me with no way to defend myself. A judge ruled that I was innocent, yet DCF treats me like I am guilty.

    I am seeking to sue the state of Vermont. I would like my name removed from their internal registry. I would like them to be forced to comply with judge's orders in future cases, and I would like to seek damages.

    Does anybody have any advice for what I can do? How does one go about taking on the state in a case like this? They are ruining my life, and I need it to stop.

    Regards,
    Jmall



  • #2
    Read the statute addressing tort claims against the state of Vermont. Defamation is a tort.

    Court Procedure (vermont.gov)

    Then consult an attorney. You'll want one that has successfully sued the state of Vermont under the tort claims act. The first question you ask of any attorney is "Have you successfully sued the state of Vermont under the tort claims act?" Remember that question because if you don't get a yes answer, move on.

    Here's a list of "federal" tort claims lawyers. Some or all might handle state tort claims. You can call and ask, maybe get a referral.

    Burlington, Vermont Federal Tort Claims Personal Injury Lawyers (morelaw.com)

    You can run a similar search for your city if you aren't in Burlington.

    Or call the state Bar lawyer referral service for more specific referrals.

    Find a Lawyer – Vermont Bar Association (vtbar.org)

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