Amicus Curiae Activity

Brandon S. v. The State of California ex rel Foster Family Home and Small Family Home Insurance Fund. In July 2009, CAI submitted an amicus curiae (pdf) letter (pdf) to the California Supreme Court, urging review of the Second District Court of Appeal's ruling that effectively forecloses Fund coverage unless there is no criminality (broadly defined), dishonesty, or intentional act involved in the causation of an injury — and not just by the policyholder, but by any third party. CAI argued that Health & Safety Code section 1527.3, which the appellate court was interpreting, pertains solely to actions by the foster parents who are insured by the Fund — not to third parties.

County of San Diego v. Arzaga. In August 2007, CAI submitted an amicus curiaeletter (pdf) to the California Supreme Court, urging review of the Fourth District Court of Appeal's holding that de facto fatherhood status is not permitted where the alleged father thought he was the biological father but finds out he is not when the child is 15 years old.

Bonta v. Katie A. In August 2006, CAI and sixteen other organizations filed an amicus curiae brief to the Ninth Circuit in Bonta v. Katie A., seeking wraparound services and therapeutic foster care for California kids with serious mental health needs.

In Children's Advocacy Institute, et al. v. Orange County Social Services Agency, et al., CAI filed a petition for writ of mandate to compel the Orange County Social Services Agency to comply with Government Code section 6252.6, which provides that after the death of a foster child who is a minor, the name, date of birth, and date of death of the child shall be subject to disclosure by the county child welfare agency pursuant to the California Public Records Act (PRA). Orange County refused to comply with CAI's PRA request on the basis that a standing Orange County juvenile court policy provided for the release of such information only through a separate, more onerous, procedure. After CAI filed its petition in July 2006, Orange County provided the documents at issue and a juvenile court order was issued to reflect the Government Code's mandated disclosure of this information by the Social Services Agency pursuant to the PRA.

Elisa B. On April 4, 2005, CAI submitted an amicus curiae brief (pdf) to the California Supreme Court in three related cases: Elisa Maria B. v. Superior Court of El Dorado County, K.M. v. E.G., and Kristine H. v. Lisa R. All three cases involve children born to same-sex couples, and raise the question of the rights and responsibilities of adults who voluntarily take on a parental role to children to whom they are not biologically related, and the corresponding rights of the children in such situations to continued care and support from those adults. In urging the Court to recognize and protect a child's right to maintain relationships with an adult who assumes a parental role in the child's life, CAI argued:

It is imperative that this Court provide a legal framework for awarding child support and resolving custody and visitation disputes when same-sex parents separate.... Children born to same-sex couples have all the same needs for financial and emotional protection as other children....CAI submits this brief on behalf of the interests of children in having the law recognize and protect their significant relationships to the adults they have come to regard as members of their family. While this entails protecting the rights of parents to love, nurture, and raise their children free from unwarranted state interference, it may occasionally call for state action to protect children's significant relationships to others, including both related and unrelated parents.

On November 4, 2002, CAI and the National Association of Counsel for Children submitted an amicus curiae letter brief in Support of Real Party in Interest Terrell R.'s Petition for Review in County of Los Angeles v. Superior Court (Second Appellate District, Division Five, No. B157850; Los Angeles County Superior Court No. BC235677). In the underlying case, the Second District Court of Appeal held that — aside from the duty of a social worker to visit the foster child one time per month, and a very general duty to place a foster child in a certified foster family home (even if the foster family home is not properly certified at the time of placement) — the County and its employees owe no other duties to the child, and have complete immunity for failing to ensure that the child is placed and maintained in a safe environment. In its brief, CAI argues that the primary intent of the state's child welfare laws is child protection, and further contends:

The appellate court's decision is sweeping, and would irresponsibly negate the intent of the law. The decision would allow a county to escape liability for breach of the mandatory statutory provisions and rules assuring the safety of these children. The court's disenrollment of much of the state's child welfare system has the puzzling exception of continued accountability for periodic social worker visits. That anomaly is not the result of statutory analysis, but picks a rather isolated mandate due to a recent decision by the same district holding such visits to be mandated. However, it then unwrites over 19 major sections of California law and applicable judicial precedents....

In Sinaiko v. Superior Court, CAI submitted an amicus curiae brief (pdf) to present its concerns regarding the treatment of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/ hyperactive disorder (ADHD), including reflexive and excessive Ritalin and other amphetamine therapy, and related concerns. The case involved the Medical Board of California discipline of a physician who explored allergy-based problems without effecting any other treatment proferred.

Barrow v. DHS. CAI's litigation in Barrow, et al. v. Department of Health Services enforced a state statute requiring DHS to adopt public playground safety regulations

Troxel v. Granville. In Troxel v. Granville, on behalf of the National Association of Counsel for Children, CAI, as counsel of record, helped draft an amicus curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, advocating the Court's first recognition of a child's constitutional right to a parent, paralleling the oft-recognized adult right to parent.

Read the U.S. Supreme Court opinion

Read the amicus curiae brief (pdf) submitted by the National Association of Counsel for Children. (BROKEN LINK)

CTA v. Huff. In CTA v. Huff, CAI helped protect $355 million in high-priority child development programs.