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According to the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974 (CAPTA), under federal law, children are required to have representation from a guardian ad litem in abuse and neglect proceedings. Many jurisdictions are proponents of the “Best Interest Model,” where the attorneys are appointed to determine and serve the best interest of the child, regardless of the individual child’s wishes. Other jurisdictions take the more traditional approach under the “Client-Directed Model,” where the attorney advocates for the child’s expressed wishes but also must take “into account diminished capacity such as age” of their client.

This post was originally published on the Cardozo Journal of Equal Rights and Social Justice website on February 13, 2023. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.

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