Advocates Demand Lawyers for Children in Foster System

A national children’s advocacy group filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday claiming three Indiana counties are violating children’s rights to due process and equal protection by denying them legal representation during foster care proceedings.

News Story (Indiana)

David Wells
Courthouse News Service
February 7, 2019

Tags: Civil Right to Counsel, Foster Youth

Organizations mentioned/involved: Children’s Advocacy Institute (San Diego)


The 31-page complaint filed in Evansville federal court claims Marion, Lake and Scott counties violate the rights of children in foster care proceedings by only appointing legal counsel in less than 10 percent of cases.

“Without an attorney, a child in a dependency proceeding risks losing his or her liberty interests, as other parties present evidence, offer witnesses, and make decisions about the child’s future that the child is not permitted to discredit, challenge, or even address,” the filing states. “Such an omission is fundamentally unfair and contrary to the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.”