Right to counsel
Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children
N. J. Stat. Ann. § 30:4C-15.4 states:
b. A child who is the subject of an application for the termination of parental rights pursuant to section 15 of P.L.1951, c. 138 (C.30:4C-15) shall be represented by a law guardian as defined in section 1 of P.L.1974, c. 119 (C.9:6-8.21).
If the child was represented by a law guardian in a child abuse and neglect action filed pursuant to chapter 6 of Title 9 of the Revised Statutes, the same law guardian, to the extent practicable, shall continue to represent the child in the termination of parental rights action, unless that law guardian seeks to be relieved by the court upon application for substitution of counsel or other just cause.
c. The Office of the Public Defender is authorized to provide representation to children and indigent parents in termination of parental rights proceedings under Title 30 of the Revised Statutes pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(1) In selecting attorneys to serve as law guardians or counsel for indigent parents, the Office of the Public Defender shall take into consideration the nature, complexity and other characteristics of the cases, the services to be performed, the status of the matters, the attorney's pertinent trial and other legal experience and other relevant factors. The Office of the Public Defender also shall take into consideration an attorney's willingness to make a commitment to represent a child or parent, as applicable, in any actions taken under Titles 9 and 30 of the Revised Statutes related to child abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights.
(2) The Office of the Public Defender shall ensure that an attorney selected pursuant to this section has received training in representing clients in child abuse and neglect and termination of parental rights actions from the Office of the Public Defender or will receive such equivalent training, as soon as practicable, from other sources.
"Law guardian" is defined § 9:6-8.21 as "an attorney admitted to the practice of law in this State, regularly employed by the Office of the Public Defender or appointed by the court, and designated under P.L.1974, c. 119 to represent minors in alleged cases of child abuse or neglect and in termination of parental rights proceedings."
Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes