Generally the answer is yes.  As an attorney, my answer is self serving but the only negative of having a at least competent attorney is the financial cost.  The attorney can help keep the initial interview on track and articulate for you, be able to advocate why the 51A should not be supported legally and factually, appeal the 51A to a fair hearing appeal, negotiate a fair hearing appeal and more.  If you have custody hearing it is essential that you have an experienced and competent attorney for advice and to be able to present your case and shoot holes in DCF’s case.