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HB 893 Attorneys appointed to represent parents or guardians; qualifications and performance.

Introduced by: Adele Y. McClure | all patrons    ...    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS PASSED: (all summaries)

Standards for attorneys appointed to represent parents or guardians; child dependency cases; compensation; multidisciplinary law offices or programs; report. Requires the Judicial Council of Virginia, in conjunction with the Virginia State Bar, beginning July 1, 2026, to adopt standards for the qualification and performance of attorneys appointed to represent a parent or guardian of a child when such child is the subject of a child dependency case, as defined in the bill. The bill also requires the Judicial Council of Virginia, beginning July 1, 2026, to maintain a list of attorneys admitted to practice law in Virginia who are qualified to be appointed to represent indigent parents involved in a child dependency case. Prior to July 1, 2026, counsel must be appointed from the list of attorneys qualified to serve as guardians ad litem. The bill provides that beginning January 1, 2025, court-appointed counsel for a parent, guardian, or other adult in a child dependency case will be compensated in an amount no greater than $330, or in a case for the termination of residual parental rights, $680.

The bill authorizes the establishment of up to two multidisciplinary law offices or programs in localities, jurisdictions, or judicial districts that affirm they have met specified criteria for the purpose of representing parents in a child dependency court proceeding or in a child protective services assessment or investigation prior to such proceeding. During any calendar year that such an office or program is in effect for at least six months, the office or program must submit a report on program outcomes, expenses, recommendations, and other pertinent information to the Office of the Children's Ombudsman and the Chairmen of the House Committees for Courts of Justice and on Health and Human Services and Appropriations and the Senate Committees for Courts of Justice and on Education and Health and Finance and Appropriations by November 1.