Current law requires the appointment of a guardian ad litem for children or youth in dependency and neglect cases. The bill requires that client-directed counsel for youth be appointed for children or youth 12 years of age or older to provide specialized client-directed legal representation.
The bill prohibits the waiver of a child's or youth's right to counsel in dependency and neglect proceedings. The bill also allows a child or youth to be a party in a dependency and neglect proceeding. For a child or youth 12 years of age or older with diminished capacity, a guardian ad litem shall remain in the role and separate counsel for the child or youth must be appointed.
The bill makes conforming amendments.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)