Discretionary appointment of counsel

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Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

A court must appoint counsel for child unless it determines there would be no benefit to doing so, and the attorney acts as a guardian ad litem. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 317(c).


In addition, Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 16001.9, which is applicable to "[a]ll children placed in foster care, either voluntarily or after being adjudged a ward or dependent of the juvenile court pursuant to Section 300601, or 602," provides an enumerated list of rights, including the right:


(33) To be represented by an attorney in juvenile court; to have an attorney appointed to advise the court of the child's wishes, to advocate for the child's protection, safety, and well-being, and to investigate and report to the court on legal interests beyond the scope of the juvenile proceeding; to speak to the attorney confidentially; and to request a hearing if the child feels their appointed counsel is not acting in their best interest or adequately representing their legal interests.

Appointment of Counsel: discretionary Qualified: no