State Wants Case Dismissed

State Wants Case Dismissed The state has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of three boys whose adoptive parents are accused of starving them even as child welfare workers visited the home.

In a 50-page document filed recently in U.S. District Court, the state contends neither its agencies nor its employees should be held liable in the case, although state officials criticized the Division of Youth and Family Services after the malnourished Collingswood boys were discovered in October.

"The state's decision to fight the Jackson children's lawsuit in total and deny any legal responsibility for their suffering is a stunning about-face and very disappointing," said Kevin Ryan, the state's child advocate. "I am no longer certain the state fully appreciates the enormity of its transgressions against the children."

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Keith, Tyrone and Michael Jackson, the three youngest Jackson boys, whose predicament was revealed when their older brother, Bruce, was found rummaging through a neighbor's trash can. It seeks unspecified monetary damages. Bruce Jackson has his own lawyer because he is over age 18.

The suit names the Department of Human Services, DYFS, four former DYFS directors and 30 unidentified DYFS managers, supervisors and caseworkers as sharing liability in the Jackson case.

State workers had visited the home repeatedly because the Jacksons had foster children.

Marcia Robinson Lowry, who heads the New York-based child advocacy group Children's Rights Inc. and is representing the three boys for free, said they have been "wronged by the state, and they needed their interests protected."

The state, which has consistently fought financial lawsuits on behalf of children it monitors, is also contesting Lowry's role in the case. State officials said they would not comment on the litigation.

The parents, Raymond and Vanessa Jackson, each face 28 counts of aggravated assault and child endangerment. They have pleaded not guilty and are free on $100,000 bail each and living at a location their lawyers have not disclosed.

The charges pertain to the way they are alleged to have treated not only the four boys, but also three girls in their home, two adopted and a foster child.

The children have been placed in state custody.

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Author: NBC10/AP

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