Representation of Children in Child Abuse and Neglect Proceedings - West Virginia

Date: June 2021

Making The Appointment

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-4-601

Upon filing of the petition alleging that a child is abused or neglected, the court shall appoint counsel for the child.

In any proceeding under this article, the child has the right to be represented by counsel at every stage of the proceedings.

The Use of Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs)

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-3-102

A court-appointed special advocate (CASA) shall operate as follows:

  • CASA programs shall be members in good standing with the West Virginia Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, Inc., and the National Court Appointed Special Advocates Association and adhere to all standards set forth by these entities.
  • CASA programs shall promote policies, practices, and procedures that are culturally competent. 'Cultural competency' is defined as the capacity to function in more than one culture, requiring the ability to appreciate, understand, and interact with members of diverse populations within the local community.
  • CASA programs must utilize a uniform case management system to monitor case progress and track outcomes.
  • CASA volunteers shall meet with CASA staff on a routine basis to discuss case status and outcomes.
  • CASAs shall receive training consistent with State and nationally developed standards.


Citation: Ann. Code § 49-4-601

Any attorney representing a party under this article shall receive a minimum of 8 hours of continuing legal education training per reporting period on child abuse and neglect procedure and practice. In addition to this requirement, any attorney appointed to represent a child must first complete training on representation of children that is approved by the administrative office of the supreme court of appeals. The supreme court of appeals shall develop procedures for approval and certification of training required under this section. When no attorney has completed the training required by this subsection, the court shall appoint a competent attorney with demonstrated knowledge of child welfare law to represent the parent or child.

Specific Duties

Citation: Ann. Code § 49-4-601

Any attorney appointed pursuant to this section shall perform all duties required as an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of West Virginia.

Under no circumstances may the same attorney represent both the child and the other party or parties. However, if more than one child from a family is involved in the proceeding, one attorney may represent all the children.

How the Representative Is Compensated

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 49-4-601; 49-3-102

The court may allow to each attorney so appointed a fee in the same amount that appointed counsel can receive in felony cases.

CASAs shall serve as volunteers without compensation.