Suter v. Artist M.
The Supreme Court granted certiorari to determine whether a class of foster children had a private right of action under a provision of the federal child welfare law, the Adoption and Assistance Child Welfare Act, that required that the child welfare agency make “reasonable efforts” to preserve and reunite families.
Juvenile Law Center’s amicus brief supported the position that children in foster care, the intended beneficiaries of the law, had a private right of action under the federal statute and this should be able to bring a section 1983 claim.
Juvenile Law Center’s brief surveyed an array of statutes and social science literature to show that the meaning of "reasonable efforts" was clear enough to be enforceable.
The Supreme Court held that the Act does not create rights enforceable in a civil action, and the Act does not create an implied private cause of action and thus a section 1983 claim could not be brought under that provision of the federal child welfare law.