Judge tosses lawsuit claiming DCFS took kids from family because father is black
Courts • Couple say they lost custody of kids on basis of race.
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A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by a Clinton couple who claimed they lost custody of their children because the father is black.

In a ruling filed last week, Judge Clark Waddoups wrote that Kelvin and Sharon Davis cannot sue Utah's Division of Child and Family Services in federal court because they did not send to the state a required notice that they intended to sue a government agency. Waddoups also wrote that the federal district court lacked jurisdiction over the state court's decision to remove the Davises' children.

In 2006, a Utah Juvenile Court removed the Davises' three children — then ages 4, 2 and 1 — after DCFS caseworkers witnessed the father and mother fight over one of the children in a physical tug-of-war. The state also pointed to statements by each parent accusing the other of abusive behavior. In 2008, the children were returned to the Davises. The couple had reconciled and filed a lawsuit accusing the state of removing their children because Kelvin is black and suffers from schizophrenia.

Waddoups noted that the couple had not appealed the juvenile court orders placing the children in foster care. For the Davises to win their lawsuit, the federal court would have to invalidate the juvenile court's orders in the manner of an appellate court — something a federal district court cannot do, Waddoups wrote, granting the caseworkers' request for summary judgment.