Metro Woman Files Abuse Lawsuit Against DHS, And Adoptive Family

DES MOINES, Iowa--  The Department of Human Services faces yet another child abuse lawsuit.

Back in 2007, DHS placed SavannahRose Willow and two other foster kids with Paul and JoAnn Drake from Ankeny.

“For me JoAnn was more physical with me especially when you tried to run away," Willow said.

Court documents show JoAnn pulled Willow by the hair, forcefully restrained her, and choked her.

Both Paul and JoAnn locked Willow and other adopted kids in the basement, denied food and, encouraged Kaitlin Drake to take part in the abuse.

“There is a private civil action against the Drakes, it's Paul, JoAnn, and their adult daughter living in the home, Kaitlin," Jennifer De Kock attorney at Wandro & Associates said.

The lawsuit claims DHS and its social workers knew or should have known about the abuse and did nothing to stop it.

This isn't a first time the Drakes have been accused of abuse.

According to the lawsuit a teacher at Ankeny Community School District reported signs of abuse to DHS in 2012.

After, the adopted kids were removed from the home and Paul and JoAnn Drake were charged in criminal court with two counts of neglect and two counts of false imprisonment. Both received a deferred judgement.

Willow hopes her civil lawsuit sparks change.

“I want people to know what’s happening, I think when people hear about the foster care system or adoption they think all these great things but in reality, it’s not," Willow said.

DHS and the Drakes were unable to comment on the lawsuit.

SavannahRose Willow is seeking monetary damages of $500,000.