Last week, Montana passed Senate Bill 148, which guarantees right to counsel for children experiencing the child protection system by statute. With the passage of this law, Montana becomes the 37th state to guarantee counsel for kids. The law requires the court to appoint Expressed/Stated-Interest legal counsel in all dependency cases.
The Counsel for Kids campaign celebrates this key legislation in Montana, which is part of a national trend of states considering right to counsel legislation in dependency cases. As of May 2023, 13 states still do not guarantee legal representation for children experiencing child welfare court proceedings. Children in court need lawyers of their own. We’re working to make sure they have them.