Right to counsel

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Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents

Florida guarantees counsel for indigent defendant parents at all stages of dependency cases. Fla. Stat. § 39.013(1), Fla. R. Juv. P. Rule 8.320(a).


See also Fla. Stat § 39.013(10) ("Court-appointed counsel representing indigent parents at shelter hearings shall be paid from state funds appropriated by general law."); Fla. Stat § 39.402(5)(b)(2) (during hearings to determine the placement of children in shelters, "if indigent, the parents have the right to be represented by appointed counsel"). However, if a parent voluntarily surrenders rights to a child, Florida statutory law does not provide a right to counsel in dependency proceedings. Fla. Stat. § 39.807(1)(d).


Fla. R Juv. P. 8.517 specifies that trial counsel cannot withdraw after a dependency or termination of parental rights order until determining whether the parent wants to appeal, and if so, until an order appointing appellate counsel has been entered.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no