Right to counsel
While a state may have many statutes, court decisions, or court rules governing appointment of counsel for a particular subject area, a "Key Development" is a statute/decision/rule that prevails over the others (example: a state high court decision finding a categorical right to counsel in guardianships cases takes precedence over a statute saying appointment in guardianship cases is discretionary).
Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Accused Parents
Upon the filing of an ex parte petition alleging abuse, R.I. Gen. Laws § 40-11-7.1(b) (entitled "Human Services – Abused and Neglected Children -- Family court proceedings") specifies that "[a] hearing on the petition shall be held within seven (7) days from the filing thereof, for the court to: … (4) Appoint an attorney to represent the parent or parents or any other person having care of the child alleged to have abused or neglected a child when the parent or custodian is unable to afford representation, as determined by the court." R.I. Juv. P., Rule 15(c)(4) echoes the same language. While this sounds like an absolute right to counsel for the parent, R.I. Gen. Laws § 40-11-14(c) (which is entitled "Right to representation in court proceedings" and is in the same chapter) specifies that "If the parent or other person responsible for the child's care is financially unable to engage counsel as determined by the court, the court may, at the request of that person, and in its discretion, appoint the public defender, or other council [sic], to represent the person" (emphasis added). It is unclear whether § 40-11-7.1(b) simply requires the court to apply the discretion in § 40-11-14 or whether § 40-11-7.1(b) provides an absolute right to counsel for the initial ex parte hearing only.
However, there is also R.I. Gen. Laws § 14-1-31 (entitled "Delinquent and Dependent Children -- Proceedings in Family Court—Services of public defender"), which specifies, "Prior to the commencement of any hearing, the justice shall advise the parent or guardian of any child, or the adult involved, as the case may be, that if he or she is financially unable to engage counsel, he or she is entitled to the services of the public defender." R.I. Gen. Laws § 14-1-3(6) defines "dependent" as used in this particular title as covering "any child who requires the protection and assistance of the court when his or her physical or mental health or welfare is harmed or threatened with harm due to the inability of the parent or guardian, through no fault of the parent or guardian, to provide the child with a minimum degree of care or proper supervision because of: (i) The death or illness of a parent; or (ii) The special medical, educational, or social service needs of the child which the parent is unable to provide."
If "yes", the established right to counsel or discretionary appointment of counsel is limited in some way, including any of: the only authority is a lower/intermediate court decision or a city council, not a high court or state legislature; there has been a subsequent case that has cast doubt; a statute is ambiguous; or the right or discretionary appointment is not for all types of individuals or proceedings within that category.
Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no