Nevada guarantees / strengthens counsel for children in abuse/neglect proceedings

Key_development Question_mark

06/06/2023, Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

In 2017, the Nevada Legislature amended Nev. Stat. § 432B.420, which previously gave the judge discretion in whether to appoint counsel for a child in an abuse/neglect proceeding, to make appointment of counsel mandatory. See Nev. Stat. § 432B.420(2) ("The court shall appoint an attorney to represent the child [alleged to have been abused or neglected]. The child must be represented by an attorney at all stages...").  The 2017 amendments also specified that an attorney appointed for the child could not serve as the child's guardian ad litem

In 2023, the Nevada legislature amended the provision again by enacting AB 148, adding reference to new sections of the law created by the bill.  The additional sections establish procedures to evaluate the incapacity of the respondent parent (or other person responsible for the welfare of a child), procedures regarding court-ordered evaluations as to the parent or person's mental competency, guidelines for decision-making of a GAL on behalf of an incapacitated parent (or other person), and a process to review the appropriateness of placement of a child in a "qualified residential treatment program."  By referencing these sections, the amended law extends the child's right to counsel to these matters.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no



The NCCRC provided some input to the advocacy group that pushed for the 2017 legislation.