Woman wants to sue Connnecticut for using childhood DCF record against her

(WTNH) — Candace Davis, 25, says she is being victimized again.

“I lost everything, my job, my cars, my place to live,” she said.

She blames the Department of Children and Families and how it used her childhood health records in a case to remove one of her children from her home. Along with allegations of domestic abuse and marijuana use in the home, state social workers used records from Davis’ childhood to help convince a judge that her children were in danger. For that, Davis wants to sue the state of Connecticut for violating her privacy.

“I absolutely think she has been very, very seriously emotionally and mentally harmed by having to face those childhood records as an adult, and feeling like those childhood experiences that she had no control over are being used against her,” said Davis’ attorney, Lisa Vincent.

Vincent argued at a Thursday hearing that state social workers should have never seen records taken while Davis was a minor. Those records detail molestation, and physical and mental abuse that Davis suffered during her childhood. They also include mental health reports.

Assistant Attorney General John Tucker made the case that the records were collected by DCF, maintained by DCF, so the state should be allowed to access and use them as they see fit, regardless of whether or not they were juvenile records.

In a statement, Attorney General Spokeswoman Jaclyn Falkowski said the case should be dismissed.

“We believe that state law is clear that the Department of Children and Families is allowed to access and review its own records when undertaking investigations involving the health, well-being, and safety of children. In this case, the actions of DCF staff were entirely lawful and appropriate and, as such, this claim should be dismissed.”

In order to sue the state, you first have to get permission from the state’s Claims Commission. Davis appeared before Commissioner Paul Vance Jr. on Thursday. Attorney Vincent made the argument that DCF violated Davis’ privacy rights by using the records against her.

“The result of that is that Candace has been stigmatized and harmed in the presence and in the minds of people who have decision making powers over the custody of her own kids,” Vincent said.

One big question for the Claims Commission: If a private person had taken the action the state had taken, would they be open to a lawsuit? Davis and her attorney argue yes.

“They shouldn’t be able to protect you as a child and then hurt you as an adult,” said Davis.

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