9:39am

Tue February 11, 2014
Local and State News

Lawsuit Alleges NM Child Welfare Agency Violated Family's Civil Rights

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's embattled child welfare agency is the target of a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations.

The complaint spells out the details of a custody battle that attorney Colin Hunter says resulted in a young girl being emotionally and physically abused at the hands of strangers.

The suit says an investigator with the Children, Youth and Families Department removed the child from her father's custody with help from Belen police officers and placed her with her mother despite a court order.

According to the suit, the girl's mother was unable to provide proper care and the child was left alone with strangers.

Hunter says this is the latest example of incompetency within the agency.

CYFD spokesman Henry Varela says the lawsuit is frivolous and the child had never been in the agency's legal custody.

Belen Police Chief Dan Robb said he was unaware of the case.