It is essential that parents have quality legal representation when the state becomes involved in their lives – including court-ordered services cases and legal removal cases. Anytime a parent or child’s constitutional rights are in jeopardy and they are at risk of being deprived of the pursuit of life, liberty, or happiness – it is imperative that they be made aware of their rights and are given an attorney if they cannot afford one.
This falls under the due process clause of the constitution. It is not a fair fight. The state has unlimited resources to prosecute while parents are forced to go bankrupt if they technically could “afford” an attorney in the beginning of their case or are at the mercy of resources given to over-worked assigned attorneys. And in cases where experts might need to be utilized, such as medical cases, parents’ assigned attorneys are often denied the use of these experts. Parents who can initially afford attorneys pour more and more money into the case, especially if criminal charges are brought against them simultaneously and they are forced to hire a separate criminal attorney. The state uses our tax dollars to prosecute its own citizens. In medical cases, the state has an entire network dedicated to testifying against parents.
Early appointment of quality representation has been proven to save the state millions of dollars.
(find Byrnes early appt report)