Resource: Mark A. v. Wilson


August 31, 2017

National Center for Youth Law

Plaintiffs brought this class action on behalf of all children who are now or will be in foster care in California. Plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to the Due Process Clause and the federal Adoption Assistance Program (AAP).

Plaintiffs attacked defendant’s policy of applying a “means” test to an adoptive family to determine whether a child is eligible for an Adoption Assistance payment. Federal law expressly prohibits the use of an income eligibility test. Plaintiffs alleged that the state imposed unlawful restrictions on the availability of funds that provide support to families who adopt foster children. The suit further alleged that defendants terminate AAP support to families arbitrarily and without their agreement. Federal law states that an Adoption Assistance agreement is final once it is signed and can only be modified with the concurrence of the family.