Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Children have a right to the appointment of a guardian ad litem who is an attorney in termination proceedings. D.C. Code § 16-2304(b)(5).  The GAL's role is to represent the child's best interests.  Because the role of the GAL is best interests and not client-directed, the right to counsel is listed as "qualified." 


But under SCR Neglect and Abuse Rule 42, the court has the ability to appoint a separate attorney as well. SCR Neglect and Abuse Rule 42 ("An attorney shall be appointed to serve as guardian ad litem for a child or children alleged to be neglected and the Court may, in addition, appoint an attorney to represent such child or children.").

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes