In Rivera v. Marcus, 696 F.2d 1016 (2d Cir. 1982), the Second Circuit considered Mrs. Rivera's claim that her due process rights were violated when the state removed her half-brother and sister from her custodial care as a foster parent.
Ruling for Mrs. Rivera, the court recognized that, although foster parents usually do not have the right to due process protection, Mrs. Rivera's status as the half-sister of the minor children, along with her history of caring for them as a surrogate mother for several years, accorded her "an important liberty interest in preserving the integrity and stability of her family. . . . Custodial relatives like Mrs. Rivera are entitled to due process protections when the state decides to remove a dependent relative from the family environment." Id. at 1024-25.
The Second Circuit also recognized "important interests that the children maintain in preserving the integrity and stability of their extended family. The . . . children surely possess a liberty interest in maintaining, free from arbitrary state interference, the family environment that they have known since birth." Id. at 1026.