Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

06/26/2023, Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Children

Right to Counsel for Children: Generally

Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 45a- 717(b) specifies that "[u]nless the appointment of counsel is required under section 46b-136, the court may appoint counsel to represent or appear on behalf of any child in a hearing held under this section to speak on behalf of the best interests of the child." Appointment of counsel should be required under Section 46b-136 for all children in termination proceedings (since a termination proceeding is a proceeding "in which the custody of a child is at issue"), and additionally the appellate court's ruling in In re Christina M, extended the statutory right to counsel for children in § 46b-129a(2)(A) to termination proceedings. 877 A.2d 941, 949-50 (Conn. App. Ct. 2005).

Right to Counsel for Indian Children

In 2023, Connecticut enacted the Connecticut Indian Child Welfare Act, which provides that "[i]any child custody proceeding in which the state court determines indigency ... The court may, in its discretion, appoint counsel for the Indian child upon a finding that such appointment is in the best interest of the child." See SB 1204.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no