63 Kids and the Law Why does the child need an attorney in a C &P case? The court will appoint an attorney to represent the child and to make sure that the child’s legal rights are protected and to speak for the child. The child has a right to a confidential (private) relationship with their attorney. The attorney cannot discuss anything the child says with the parent, social worker, or the judge unless the child gives the attorney permission. If the child is not mature enough to make a thoughtful decision, the attorney will “substitute judgment” for the child (that is, represent the position the attorney believes the child would take if the child were able to make a thoughtful decision). It is not the role of the attorney to argue what the attorney thinks is in the best interests of the child. What if the child is Native American or American Indian? The court will ask if either parent is American Indian or Native American. If they are, this may entitle the family to additional rights. This information should be shared with the attorney to help decide whether to use these rights. If the court is notified of this heritage, the tribe must be notified and may de- cide to become involved in the proceedings. Are there any limits on DCF’s authority to make decisions about a child in its custody? Yes. DCF cannot consent to“extraordinary medical treatment,” such as a blood transfusion or certain psychiatric medications. DCF must ask the court to appoint a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) to investigate and file a report with recom- mendations. The parties can have a “Rogers” hearing and object to the recom- mendations. DCF will not sign a special education plan for a child in its custody. A spe- cially trained adult, known as a “special education surrogate parent,” will be appointed to make these decisions.  The laws related to Care and Protection and Termination of Parental Rights cas- es are contained in Massachusetts General Laws chapter 119 and 210. Care and Protection Cases 6