Case Status: Victory. Shortly after filing suit, county officials agreed to settle the case on terms favorable to the Raykins.
Raykin v. Arapahoe County Department of Human Services
Human Services Department Assaults Family Rights
CIR sued the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services and several employees when they seized Joshua Raykin and kept him from his family for over a week based on unsubstantiated claims that his father, Michael Raykin, had abused him.
Officers at the ACDHS agreed that Joshua would be removed from his parents’ custody without a hearing and would not be placed with any member of the Raykin family. They came to their decision without conducting any reasonable investigation of the allegations against Michael Raykin. In fact, no steps were taken to gauge the truthfulness of the allegations or the likelihood that Joshua was in imminent danger of serious harm.
Eight days after receiving the highly dubious complaint and without having conducted any meaningful investigation, an officer of the county Sherriff’s office seized Joshua in front of the family house. While in the custody, Joshua became visibly distressed and required medical attention. He also became cold and hungry. But neither he nor his parents were allowed to go into the family home to retrieve jackets or food. Upon hearing the reason for the seizure of Joshua, Michael Raykin offered to remove himself from the family home to allow Joshua to stay in the home with his mother, Melanie Raykin. But the ACDHS rejected this alternative proposal.
Joshua was removed from his parents’ custody for over a week and sent to live in a foster home that failed to take proper care of him. The foster family did not recognize his religious beliefs and did not accommodate his religious needs. Indeed, the male foster parent teased Joshua about his religion. On one occasion, an older child in the house entered his room at night and hit him with a broomstick. For some time, Joshua was forced to travel with the male foster parent to his job because neither the foster parents nor the individual defendants had registered him at a local school. He was also required, unlike any of the other children in the house, to scrub the floor and toilet of the foster home on a daily basis.
Even after returning Joshua to his mother, his father was ordered to stay away from the home for another two weeks.
CIR sued the Arapahoe County for unlawfully seizing Joshua and for depriving the family of their rights of familial association.