“AC was born with cocaine in his system.” (Opinion). So begins a series of unfortunate events. AC’s third foster home parents are the petitioners (MS). They wanted to adopt AC. Initially the Denver DHS (DHS) called them “prospective adoptive parents,” until a report raised concerns about the mother. DHS removed AC without notice to anyone; a hearing was eventually held and the removal affirmed. MS appealed, arguing they had a constitutionally protected liberty interest in their relationship with AC based on their reasonable expectation that their relationship with A.C. would continue. The Court held they did not because neither CRS 19-3-507 (foster parents have a right to notice and participation), nor the 14th Amendment creates such an interest absent significant progress towards actual adoption. MS never started the adoption process and only had a foster parent’s rights.
Tag Archives: Foster Parents
M.S. and S.S. v. The People In the Interest of A.C., and A.C., by and through his Guardian ad Litem.
A.M. by and through his Guardian ad Litem, and L.H. and R.H. v. A.C., and the People in the Interests of A.M. v. N.M., 2012CO16M (February 25, 2013; Modified March 18)
As family structures change, so do the way in which we determine what may be in the best interests of a child. In dependency and neglect (D&N) proceedings, which can lead to the termination of parental rights, courts consider many factors and take evidence from many sources. With this opinion, the Court holds that foster parents of a child in the middle of a D&N proceeding can fully participate in such hearings, so long as they meet the requirements for intervention in CRS 19-3-507. A parent’s due process rights at a hearing are preserved by ensuring notice and using higher evidentiary standards. Full foster parent participation still provides the parental protections in Mathews v. Eldridge. Here, foster parents properly gave opening and closing statements, cross-examined witnesses, raised objections, and fully participated in the termination hearing without limitation.
http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2011/11SC53.pdf [Opinion modified, and as modified, Petition for Rehearing DENIED (March 18, 2013).]
What voices should be at the table when deciding who should take care of a child who has been removed from the care of his parents? In this case, the child was removed from the care of the mother. The child stayed with a friend until moved to a foster home. Grandparents sought to intervene to request that the child be placed with them. The County and the Guardian Ad Litem opposed the grandparents’ request. The trial court agreed with the County because the grandparents did not have the child in their care for three months, as it believed was required under C.R.S. 19-3-507. The court of appeals first determined that it could decide the appeal by deeming the denial of the motion to intervene as a final order. The court then held that the statutory requirement of three months of care before gaining a right to intervene only applied to foster parents, but not grandparents or other relatives.