New Hampshire will be saving money by ending court-appointed lawyers for parents charged with abuse and neglect.
What do decades of tax cuts and an economic crash mean in real terms? Well, this, for starters:
In most places in the U.S., if a parent is charged with abuse or neglect of a child and can’t afford a lawyer, he’s appointed one. That lawyer’s job is to defend the parent and reunite the family if possible.
But faced with a budget shortfall, New Hampshire has taken the unusual step of eliminating that funding.
The court and state officials charged with enforcing the new policy now worry that the lack of representation is hurting parents and their children — and children’s advocates are concerned that other states may eventually follow New Hampshire’s lead.
Let’s be honest here: most folks charged with child neglect are so charged because they haven’t got enough money, and these days, a lot more people are hard up. So they can’t hire their own lawyers, meaning they’re facing family court with nobody who can explain their legal rights or options, help determine what a just outcome is, nothing. People are going to lose their children who otherwise wouldn’t. And next we’ll hear that the foster-care system is short on funds too, because nobody could have anticipated the large influx of hurt, frightened kids being dumped into foster care.
But hey, they got Big Government off their backs, right?