New Hampshire restores, protects right to counsel for parents in abuse/neglect proceedings

Key_development Question_mark

10/01/2015, Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

In 2011, the New Hampshire Legislature stripped away the right to counsel for indigent parents in abuse/neglect proceedings, but in a general appropriations bill introduced in 2013, the Legislature restored the right to counsel. Now the statute states:


In any case of neglect or abuse brought pursuant to this chapter, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent an indigent parent alleged to have neglected or abused his or her child. In addition, the court may appoint an attorney to represent an indigent parent not alleged to have neglected or abused his or her child if the parent is a household member and such independent legal representation is necessary to protect the parent's interest. The court shall not appoint an attorney to represent any other persons involved in a case brought under this chapter.


N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 169-C:10(II)(a).


In 2014, a proposal was submitted to the Texas Supreme Court to truncate the parent's right to counsel.  The proposal would have changed a Texas court rule such that the parent's counsel would be automatically dismissed 30 days after the dispositional phase.  The NCCRC fiiled comments opposing the rule change and organized other advocates to chime in.  In October 2015, the Court announced it would reject the proposed rule change.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no


Nccrc_involvement_icon NCCRC assisted litigation on this issue, and fought the court rule rollback.