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MARION PRIESTER AND ARIETTA PRIESTER v. FAYETTE COUNTY CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES (07/07/86)

filed: July 7, 1986.

MARION PRIESTER AND ARIETTA PRIESTER, APPELLANTS,
v.
FAYETTE COUNTY CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES



APPEAL FROM THE JUDGMENT ENTERED MAY 20, 1985 IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF FAYETTE COUNTY, CIVIL NO. 481 OF 1985 G.D.

COUNSEL

John S. Cupp, Jr., Connellsville, for appellants.

Mary W. Terry, Uniontown, for appellee.

Cirillo, President Judge, and Del Sole and Beck, JJ. Beck, J., files a concurring opinion.

Author: Cirillo

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 563]

This is an appeal from a final judgment dismissing appellant's complaint for custody due to lack of standing. We affirm.

The basic facts of this case are undisputed. Appellants, Marion and Arietta Priester, seek custody of Karen Ann Bowers, a minor child. Appellee, Fayette County Children and Youth Services, initially approved appellants as foster parents and placed the minor child in their home for approximately two years.

Pursuant to a court order, however, appellee removed the minor child from the foster home. Appellee placed the child in another foster home in which the child's brother resided. Appellants have not had custody of the child since that time. Appellants claim no relation to the child by blood or marriage. The natural mother of the child died before the final judgment was entered by the trial court. The location

[ 354 Pa. Super. Page 564]

    of the child's natural father is unknown. Appellee has declined appellants' request for custody of the child.

The sole issue presented for our review is: Whether appellants, former foster parents who no longer have possession of the child, lack standing to pursue an action for custody? We answer in the affirmative.

Foster care has been defined as a "'child welfare service which provides substitute family care for a planned period for a child when his own family cannot care for him for a temporary or extended period, and when adoption is neither desirable nor possible.'" Smith v. Organization of Foster Families, 431 U.S. 816, 823, 97 S.Ct. 2094, 2099, 53 L.Ed.2d 14 (1977), citing Child Welfare League of America, Standards for Foster Family Care Service 5 (1959).

The distinctive features of foster care are first, "'that it is care in a family, it is non-institutional substitute care,'" and second, "'that it is for a planned period -- either temporary or extended. This is unlike adoptive placement, which implies a permanent substitution of one home for another.'" 431 U.S. at 824, 97 S.Ct. at ...


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