Delaware grants right to counsel for children in abuse/neglect cases
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).
09/06/2016, Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children
13 Del. C. § 2504(f) used to require the court to appoint either an attorney or a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for abuse/neglect cases. However, in 2017, the legislature amended 13 Del. C. § 2504(f) to state:
When a petition is filed under this chapter, the Court shall appoint an attorney authorized to practice law in this State to represent the child. When appointing an attorney, the Court may also appoint a Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer to work in conjunction with the attorney. The rights, responsibilities and duties in representing the child are set forth in § 9007A of Title 29. For the purposes of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. § 5106a, et seq.), the attorney for the child and the Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer, if one is appointed, shall fulfill the role of guardian ad litem for the child.
In turn, Del. Code Ann. tit. 29 § 9007A specifies that the attorney fulfills the role of guardian ad litem, but 9007A(c)(15) adds that “[T]he attorney or Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteer shall… Ascertain the wishes of the child and make the child's wishes known to the Court. If the attorney guardian ad litem concludes that the child's wishes differ from the position of the attorney guardian ad litem, he or she will notify the Court of the conflict.”an ad litem, he or she will notify the Court of the conflict.”
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