Right to counsel - expectant mothers

Key_development Question_mark

Legislation, Other subject area

The court may order protection or services for an unborn child whose expectant mother "habitually lacks self-control in the use of alcohol beverages, controlled substances or controlled substance analogs" if there is a substantial risk to the health of the unborn child. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 48.133. Wis. Stat. Ann. § 48.23(2m)(a) specifies, "When an unborn child is alleged to be in need of protection or services under s. 48.133, the expectant mother of the unborn child, if the expectant mother is a child, shall be represented by counsel and may not waive counsel."


Further, § 48.23(2m)(b) states:


If a petition under [Wis. Stat. Ann. § 48.133] is contested, no expectant mother may be placed outside of her home unless the expectant mother is represented by counsel at the fact-finding hearing and subsequent proceedings. If the petition is not contested, the expectant mother may not be placed outside of her home unless the expectant mother is represented by counsel at the hearing at which the placement is made. An adult expectant mother, however, may waive counsel if the court is satisfied that the waiver is knowingly and voluntarily made and the court may place the adult expectant mother outside of her home even though the adult expectant mother was not represented by counsel.


Wis. Stat. Ann. § 48.23(2m)(b)

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no