Current law requires the appointment of a guardian ad litem for children or youth in dependency and neglect cases. The act 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 act prohibits the waiver of a child's or youth's right to counsel in dependency and neglect proceedings. The act 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.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)