In this appeal of an order terminating the parent-child legal relationship, the Court of Appeals holds that the respondent mother did not have a right to have her counsel present during her interview with a Qualified Expert Witness (QEW).  The Court rejects the mother’s procedural due process claim, noting that parties to D&N proceedings are not entitled to the same due process rights as defendants in criminal proceedings and distinguishing a parent’s statutory right to counsel from a criminal defendant’s constitutional right to counsel.  The Court holds that the mother’s due process rights were satisfied by her opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses through her counsel at the termination hearing. 

In this appeal of an order terminating the parent-child legal relationship, the Court of Appeals holds that the respondent mother did not have a right to have her counsel present during her interview with a Qualified Expert Witness (QEW).  The Court rejects the mother’s procedural due process claim, noting that parties to D&N proceedings are not entitled to the same due process rights as defendants in criminal proceedings and distinguishing a parent’s statutory right to counsel from a criminal defendant’s constitutional right to counsel.  The Court holds that the mother’s due process rights were satisfied by her opportunity to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses through her counsel at the termination hearing. 

The Court also rejects the mother’s argument that her interview with the QEW constituted a child custody proceeding as defined by ICWA, noting that neither ICWA’s statutory language nor the BIA Guidelines provide an entitlement to counsel during a parent’s interview with a QEW.

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