The Appellate Group

In re F.C.G.

In re F.C.G., 2023 UT App 55 (per curiam)

Child Welfare

During her termination proceedings, Mother twice requested—and was appointed—counsel but failed to contact counsel or meaningfully participate in the proceedings. Given this, the juvenile court later allowed counsel to withdraw. When Mother then lost her parental rights, she asserted that the juvenile court erred by determining that she waived her right to counsel. On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed holding:

  • The juvenile court did not err in allowing counsel to withdraw after Mother failed to communicate with counsel or appear at court.
  • Issue Flagged: Whether parents have a constitutional right to counsel during termination proceedings appears to remain an open question. The Court of Appeals did not squarely address Mother’s argument that she had a constitutional right to counsel in addition to a statutory right to counsel. The court held instead that “the record does not support that Mother had a constitutional right to counsel.”

Read the full court opinion