The Colorado Supreme Court announced its decision in M.S. v. People ex rel. A.C., 11 SC 725 on June 10, 2013. You may know the case by its name in the Court of Appeals, People ex rel A.C., 10 CA 2536 (Colo. App. Sept. 15, 2011).
The issue before the court was whether pre-adoptive foster parents of a child whose biological parents’ rights have been terminated have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in the continuing relationship with the child and a right to due process concerning removal of the child from the parents’ home. The Court held that “preadoptive” foster parents have no legal rights to a child placed in their care and are not entitled to due process concerning removal of the child from their care.
The Court found that such “preadoptive” or “prospective” foster parents are “indistinguishable from a typical foster care placement.” (M.S., Pg. 12, ¶ 21). The Court affirmed that placement decisions are focused on the best interests of the child noting, “No provisions in the dependency and neglect statutes prohibit the removal of a child from a foster placement. Instead, the court must consider and act on the child’s best interests.” (M.S., pg. 9, ¶15).
To read the full opinion, click on the link above.