Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,400+ case briefs...

Smith v. Organization of Foster Families for Equality and Reform (Offer)

United States Supreme Court
431 U.S. 816 (1977)


The express policy of the state of New York (defendant) promotes children living with their natural parents. If parents cannot adequately care for their children, they may voluntarily transfer custody to a social services agency that then places the children in a foster home. Natural parents have the right to regain custody of their children on a predetermined date or within 20 days’ notice. They continue to have rights and obligations toward their children even after the children are placed in foster homes. Foster placements are designed to be temporary, pending return of children to their natural parents or permanent adoption. Foster parents have a contract with the agency and are paid to provide day-to-day care and supervision. They do not have full legal custodial rights. Under New York law, the agency has discretion to remove children from a foster home. At least 10 days’ advance notice is required, and the foster parents may seek a preremoval conference to object. Removal is stayed if a conference is scheduled. If a child is removed after a conference, the foster parents may appeal by means of an adversarial hearing subject to judicial review. Removal is not stayed pending appeal. If a child has been placed with a foster family for 18 months or more, the foster parents may seek preremoval judicial review of the removal. New York City (defendant) provides alternative preremoval procedures that afford greater protections to foster parents. Instead of a preremoval conference, the city allows parents to seek an independent review that is more comprehensive. The Organization of Foster Families for Equality and Reform (OFFER) (plaintiff) and individual foster parents whose foster children had been removed (plaintiffs) filed suit against the state of New York and New York City, alleging that the removal procedures violated due process and equal protection. Natural parents of children placed in foster care sought, and received, leave to intervene in the case. The District Court decided in plaintiffs’ favor. Defendants appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)

Concurrence (Stewart, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 497,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 497,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,400 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial