Certain Mississippi lawmakers, one state Supreme Court justice and the commissioner of Child Protective Services are all going to bat to provide attorneys for parents who find themselves in juvenile court facing charges of parental unfitness, child abuse or neglect (News Observer, 3/10/19). So far, in at least certain counties, those parents haven’t had access to state-supplied lawyers.
Of course, the vast majority of parents in juvenile court are poor and have attained only modest levels of education. That means they’re the least able to defend themselves, understand the charges against them, produce evidence on their behalf or grasp the consequences of failure to do so. Few people in any court need legal representation more than parents facing the loss of their kids.