The Washington Court of Appeals, Division I has significantly changed the requirements regarding appointment of counsel in truancy cases. In Bellevue Sch. Dist. v. E.S., (Wn. App. Div. I Jan. 12, 2009), the court vacated a finding of truancy because the child did not have counsel at the initial hearing when the finding of truancy was made. In light of this case, it is no longer sufficient for counsel to be appointed at the point of the contempt proceeding; rather, counsel must be appointed before the initial hearing.
For more information on this issue, listen to and read the materials from the Truancy CLE.