Conference of State Court Administrators urges counsel for all child welfare cases

08/31/2017, Court Rule or Initiative, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

In August 2017, the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) issued a revised policy statement on child welfare cases.  Their old child welfare policy only referred to courts ensuring “the legal representation of children”, whereas the new policy urges trial courts to ensure "the legal representation of children and parents in all child protection cases and at every stage of the case.”  


This is not COSCA’s first foray into supporting access to justice and a right to counsel.  Previously, a powerful resolution by COSCA and the Conference of Chief Justices (CCJ) called for "100 percent access to effective assistance for essential civil legal needs”, and COSCA also previously released a white paper called The Demographic Imperative: Guardianships and Conservatorships that said, "In states where right to counsel has not been addressed, courts should take a leadership role in requiring the appointment of counsel to protect the rights of persons with diminished capacity.”