Right to counsel - Child Requiring Assistance proceedings

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Other subject area

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has held that, pursuant to M.G.L. Ch. 119, § 29, indigent parents are entitled to court-appointed counsel at the dispositional phase of a "Child Requiring Assistance" proceeding if it is possible that custody of the child will be awarded to the Department of Social Services because the Department is a party. In re Hilary, 880 N.E.2d 343, 345, 346 (Mass. 2008) ("[I]f the child is subject to a permanency plan, both the parent and child are entitled to counsel and, if either the parent or child is indigent, counsel will be appointed."). If the judge is not considering removing the child from the custody of the parents, however, counsel need not be appointed for the parents.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes