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Case Law Update

Child in Foster Care Lacked Right to Attend Parents’ Termination Hearing

Child in foster care did not have an absolute right to be present and testify at the termination of parental rights hearings of her parents. Neither the state Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in Foster Care Act nor the juvenile court rules of procedure supported such an absolute right. Rather, the juvenile court was entitled to consider her best interests in deciding whether to allow her to attend the hearings and testify.

Mother Who Placed Child in Short-term Foster Care with Private Agency had Right to Counsel before Termination Trial Began

Indigent mother had a constitutional and statutory right to court-appointed counsel beginning before termination of parental rights trial when private adoption agency first decided to proceed with an adoption over her objection. Once a private adoption agency decides to seek adoption over the objection of a parent, that parent has the right to counsel. In the future, a state-licensed private adoption agency must advise the court at the same time that it notifies an indigent parent it plans to proceed with adoption so counsel can be appointed. Whether the child is entitled to representation should also be considered.