Right to counsel

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Legislation, Termination of Parental Rights (State) - Birth Parents

There is a right to counsel upon request for indigent parents in termination of parental rights cases. Kan. Stat. § 38-2205(b) provides a right to counsel in "proceedings under this code", and termination of parental rights happens within that code section.


The statute also requires courts to appoint counsel, regardless of indigency, for any parent who is a minor or who is mentally ill or disabled and who is an interested party in a child in need of care case. See Kan. Stat. Ann. § 38- 2205(b), (c). 


See also Kan. Stat. § 38-2267(d) ("Prior to a hearing on a ... motion requesting termination of parental rights, the court shall appoint an attorney to represent any parent who fails to appear and may award a reasonable fee to the attorney for services."


At least one court has said the right to counsel extends to the appeal. In re Brehm, 594 P.2d 269, 270-271 (Kan. Ct. App. 1979) (in termination of parental rights case, "absent a statutory provision to the contrary and absent limitation by the appointing authority, the responsibilities and duties of court-appointed counsel continue until final resolution of the cause for which assigned. Such occurs only after judgment has been rendered, the availability of an appeal has been exhausted, and the time for any rehearing or final review has passed."). 

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no