Florida Legislature establishes right to counsel for certain dependent children

Key_development Question_mark

04/30/2014, Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

In 2014 the Florida Legislature passed HB561, which created Fla. Stat. §  39.01305 and requires appointment of counsel for certain children in dependency and termination of parental rights cases, such as children with developmental disabilities, those residing in a skilled nursing facility, and children who are victims of human trafficking. New media outlet NationSwell recently discussed the law.

 

This new law expands the existing law governing appointment of counsel for children in Florida. Fla. R. Juv. P. 8.217(a), which covers both dependency and termination of parental rights, provides, "At any stage of the proceedings, any party may request or the court may consider whether an attorney ad litem is necessary to represent any child alleged to be dependent, if one has not already been appointed", while 8.217(b) adds, "The court may appoint an attorney ad litem to represent the child in any proceeding as allowed by law."

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: yes

 

Nccrc_involvement_icon NCCRC provided some input on the language of the bill.