DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner is asking the court to move a civil case involving Kids to Love to Montgomery County.

The lawsuit was filed in Madison County by Lee Marshall, the founder of Kids to Love. The organization is based in Madison County, but Buckner said due to the state officials involved, it should be moved to Montgomery County.

“The alleged actions or inactions as to other defendants in their official capacity would originate in Montgomery, Alabama,” the request to Circuit Judge Donna Pate stated. “The general rule is that when an officer of the State is a defendant venue is proper only in Montgomery County.”

Other cases involving state officers, such as the recently argued Baldwin County Bridge Company v. Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Director John Cooper, have also been moved to Montgomery County.

The Kids to Love lawsuit against Buckner alleges she and others in leadership positions have ended referrals to their homes for foster children. DHR has denied the claims.

DHR also faces federal lawsuits claiming the department has failed to protect disabled children in foster homes.

A group of current and former Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) employees sent an open letter to Gov. Kay Ivey about concerns with DHR leadership. Some of the problems, they said, have led to the death and abuse of children in DHR custody.

Governor Kay Ivey’s team said the governor supports Commissioner Buckner.

“To my knowledge, our Office has not received this letter, and therefore, there is no way to verify it,” Ivey’s communications director Gina Maiola told 1819 News. “However, Commissioner Nancy Buckner, who has dedicated much of her career to DHR, as well as the team at the department, do critical and lifesaving work. Governor Ivey commends them for their service.”

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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