Tenth Circuit

Elwell v. Byers, 699 F.3d 1208 (10th Cir. 2012). FOSTER PARENTS, DUE PROCESS
Although foster parents had a constitutional right to due process before child was removed, where they had taken substantial steps toward adopting him and he had been in their care most of his life. However, since case law had not established clearly that foster parents could had constitutional rights, state officials had immunity in foster parents’ lawsuit. FULL SUMMARY

J.W. v. Utah, 647 F.3d 1006 (10th Cir. 2011). LIABILITY, CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES
State and child welfare agency officials were immune from liability from state negligence and Fourteenth Amendment claims by foster parents after foster child allegedly abused another child in their home. Battery exception gave state and its employees protection from state negligence claims since the alleged harm resulted from assault or battery. Absent showing that caseworker failed to exercise professional judgment when placing child, plaintiffs were unable to establish Fourteenth Amendment due process violation. Full Summary

Schwartz v. Booker, 702 F.3d 573 (10th Cir. 2012). LIABILITY, CHILD WELFARE AGENCIES
District court properly denied agency caseworkers’ motions to dismiss in case where a child in foster care died after repeated abuse by foster father. If true, allegations provided sufficient information to overcome qualified immunity given that the caseworkers ignored a number of reports that the child was being physically abused. That these allegations required some type of investigation was clearly established under state law.

T.D. v. Patton, 868 F.3d 1209 (10th Cir. 2017). LIABILITY, CASEWORKER
Minor alleged social worker recommended juvenile court place her with biological father during dependency case involving mother without disclosing concerns about father, who was registered sex offender. Worker was on notice father was potentially abusing minor and did not investigate. Alleged conduct violated minor’s clearly established substantive due process rights, and worker was therefore not entitled to qualified immunity from liability under § 1983.