In Washington state, children in dependency cases where parental rights have been terminated are not provided legal representation. That's not the case in other states. In Massachusetts, kids have the right to legal representation at birth.
Critics of Washington's policy contend that children have legal interests too, and without a lawyer, those interests are not protected. Some supporters argue that children are not in a position to articulate their best interests or direct a lawyer to represent them.
Marcie Sillman sits down with two attorneys, Lisa Kelly, director of the University of Washington's Children and Youth Advocacy Clinic, and Catherine Smith, from Smith Goodfriend, P.S., for two perspectives on this issue.