Right to a Lawyer A child has a right to be represented by a lawyer at all CINA proceedings. The court will appoint a lawyer to represent the child. A parent has a right to be represented at every stage of a CINA case. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer and your income is below a certain level, a lawyer will be appointed to represent you from the Office of the Public Defender. You can get a free lawyer, regardless of income, if you, as the parent, are under age 18, or in some cases, if you have a mental disability.
The shame of sexual abuse makes it very difficult for children to come forward. They may worry that others won’t believe them, will be angry with them, or that it will split their family apart. Because of these difficulties, false accusations of sexual abuse are not common, so if a child confides in you, take them seriously. Warning signs of child abuse and neglect Warning signs of emotional abuse