In 1967, the Supreme Court confirmed that juveniles who face delinquency proceedings that could lead to detention are entitled to counsel. In such circumstances, the child and his or her parents can hire a lawyer, and if they’re unable to afford a lawyer, the court will appoint one. The Court said that children and their parents must be notified of these rights. In issuing the opinion, Justice Fortas wrote, “Under our Constitution, the condition of being a boy does not justify a kangaroo court.” (In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967).)
The Supreme Court’s ruling aside, states may have laws providing counsel for juveniles in other kinds of cases.
(For more on juvenile court, see Juvenile Court: An Overview and Juvenile Delinquency: What Happens in a Juvenile Case? Also see Do you need a lawyer for juvenile court?)