Right to counsel

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Abuse/Neglect/Dependency - Children

As per M.G.L. ch. 119, § 29, children have a right to appointed counsel in all of the following types of custody proceedings (and must informed of the right as well):


(1) Children who have reached adulthood but are still the responsibility of the Department under M.G.L. ch. 119, § 23(a)(1);


(2) the Department of Children and Family's application or petition for an order of the probate court granting responsibility for the child to the Department based on the child's lack of proper guardianship due to death, unavailability, incapacity, or unfitness. under M.G.L. ch. 119, § 23(a)(3);


(3) a hearing on a petition brought by any person alleging that the child is being abused or neglected or otherwise requires the care and protection of the Department of Children and Families, including removal from the home and transfer of custody to the Department under chapter 119, §§ 24 & 26;


(4) a determination of custody pending a hearing on the merits of any petition brought pursuant to chapter 119, § 24. See also ch. 119, § 25 (explaining the procedure for such a hearing);


(5) court determinations of the future status of children committed to the responsibility of the Department, including permanency plan hearings under chapter 119, § 29B; and


(6) appeals of any orders of commitment of children or adjudications that the child is in need of care and protection, including petitions for a review and determination of the current needs of a child, which are brought by the child, parent, guardian, or any person appearing on behalf of the child pursuant to chapter 119, § 26.

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no