Counsel for Kids Legislative Updates

New Hampshire considered (retained) House Bill 535 (2023) during a closed interim Children and Family Law Committee session on October 31. As amended, it requires the appointment of legal counsel for children placed in institutions or group homes and permits judges to appoint attorneys to any child in child protection court proceedings. The committee made an “ought to pass with amendment” recommendation to the House. On January 3, the House floor adopted the recommendation. The bill’s next stop is House finance. Children and Family Law Committee chairs co-authored an op-ed endorsing the expansion of children’s access to legal counsel in child protection court proceedings. Companion Senate Bill 463 was introduced on January 3. 

On December 5, Florida interim House Children, Families, and Seniors subcommittee considered House Bill 185 (2024) that would revise Florida law to eliminate special needs categories of youth guaranteed legal representation and restrict judicial discretion to appoint legal counsel. Members of Foster Fairness and others testified in the public hearing. NACC submitted this letter of opposition