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04/14/17   House Human Services Committee Is Conducting a Hearing on 2 Key CPS Reform Bills on April 17
 

The Texas House Human Services Committee is conducting a hearing on 2 key CPS Reform bills, among others, starting at 9:00 am on Monday, April 17, 2017. HB 205 requires that before a court may order a parent to participate in services or permit the child to receive services provided by the Department, the court MUST conduct a trial, and the Dept. must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the parent abused or neglected the child or is likely to do so in the immediate or foreseeable future. The bill also requires the court to appoint an attorney for the parent without reference to a finding of indigency. SB 11 (previously discussed) includes provisions that transfer ALL case management services to a private contractor in areas where Foster Care Redesign (being renamed "Community Based Foster Care") is being implemented. As you know, TLC is against privatizing case management services, but if it must happen, TLC believes the roll-out plan in HB 6 is preferable to the one in SB 11. HB 6 requires that before transferring case management services, the Department must have first successfully transferred foster care services to the private contractor. To view the notice listing all bills to be heard on Monday, click here. For the text of HB 205, click here, and for SB 11, click here.

 

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04/14/17 Key Hearing on 2 CPS Reform Bills on 4/17
04/14/17 Call for Nominations - Deadline May 1
04/06/17 Key Hearing on AAL Appointment - April 10
03/23/17 Key Hearing on 2 CPS Reform Bills on 3/27
03/17/17 Key Hearing on 3 CPS Reform Bills on 3/20
03/08/17 Contact House Human Services Committee
03/07/17 HB 6 & Privatization of Case Management
03/01/17 Texas Senate Passes CPS Reform Bill SB 11
03/01/17 House Passes HB 4 & 5 to Reform CPS
02/03/17 Child Protection Day Rally at Capitol-2/7
02/03/17 Free Trial Skills Training - Deadline 2/5
01/31/17 Key Hearing on Bill to Change DFPS - 2/2
01/30/17 See House CPS Workgroup Press Conference
01/09/17 Interim Order in Federal Class Action
12/10/16 New Federal Education Law - ESSA
11/04/16 See Special Masters' Recommendations
10/27/16 See Hank Whitman's Emergency Plan
10/12/16 Hearing - CPS Plan to Improve Child Safety
09/27/16 NCJFCJ Implementation Sites - Due 9/30
09/22/16 Key Federal Legislation Pending Now
09/12/16 Congressional Briefing on Right to Counsel
07/08/16 Hearing-House Human Services Cmte 7/12
07/07/16 Latest Appeal Denied in Class Action
06/27/16 Judicial Travel Scholarships - HHS Summit
06/21/16 New Deputy Asst. Commissioner for CPS
05/09/16 Child Welfare Law Specialization - Comment
04/27/16 Attorney Training Scholarships - Due May 2
04/20/16 Celebration of Karyn Purvis on Sat. 4/23
04/15/16 Hear Hon. Scott McCown on CPS Crisis
04/12/16 Loss of Karyn Purvis, Ph.D. on April 12
04/11/16 New Leaders for DFPS & CPS Appointed
03/21/16 Special Masters Appointed in Federal Case
03/10/16 Call for Nominations - Deadline April 1
03/04/16 DFPS Commissioner Specia Resigns Eff. 5/31
02/26/16 Give Input on CPS Caseworker Skills by 3/5
01/26/16 Update on Federal Case on Foster Care
01/04/16 Free Trial Skills Training - Deadline 1/8
12/17/15 Decision in Foster Care Class Action
11/02/15 Budget Takes from Crime Vicitms Fund
10/28/15 Over-Medication of Foster Children
10/25/15 Report on Misuse of Antipsychotic Drugs
09/09/15 Free Trial Skills Training - Deadline 9/22
08/11/15 Children's Commission's Legislative Update
07/15/15 Update on Changes to Family Code
06/01/15 Attorney Scholarships- Due 6/15 & 6/22
05/22/15 See Family Code Changes Effective April 2
04/22/15 Key Hearings in House Committees on 4/22
04/20/15 See Legislative Update as of April 20
04/20/15 Key Hearings April 20 on HB 1014 & SB 414
03/31/15 Pending Legislation on Child Protection
03/30/15 Call for Nominations - Deadline April 14
03/05/15 Free Trial Skills Training - Deadline 3/10
11/19/14 Federal Student Aid for Foster Youth
11/12/14 Public Hearing on HHSC & DFPS Nov. 13
10/10/14 See CPS Case Process Brief & Flowcharts
09/22/14 Help on Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
09/12/14 NACC Membership Discount Extended-10/31
09/01/14 New Rules For Screening Foster Parents
08/01/14 Foster Care Redesign Contract Terminated
06/17/14 Key Hearings on DFPS 6/24 & 6/25
06/06/14 Supreme Court Rules on Unfound Ground
06/03/14 Statewide Child Welfare Law Conference
05/30/14 Attorney Training Scholarships-Due 6/27
05/15/14 House Select Committee on Child Protection
04/22/14 Key Hearing on Juvenile Justice - 4/22
04/14/14 Key Hearing on Foster Care Redesign - 4/15
03/05/14 April 9 Call for Nominations - Bar Award
02/18/14 New Paper Takes Aim at ICPC Flaws
02/12/14 Key Senate Hearing on CPS - Thurs., 2/20
02/03/14 DOJ Asked to Investigate ICWA Violations
01/21/14 USSC to Interpret Child Porn Restitution
01/17/14 New CPS Asst. Commissioner Appointed
01/17/14 New Transitional Housing for Young Adults
10/22/13 See Legislative Update on Family Code
10/08/13 TLC Now Offers Online CLE Programs
10/04/13 New Resources - Education Advocacy
10/03/13 See Paper Analyzing In re E.C.R.
09/06/13 New Resources - Trauma-Informed Practice
09/05/13 See Compelling Video on ICWA & the Courts
08/23/13 ICE Now Focusing on Parental Interests
08/23/13 See Legislative Update on Child Abuse
08/22/13 Give National Input on Attorney Pay Rates
07/30/13 FBI Thwarts Child Prostitution Scheme
06/26/13 USSC Allows Non-Indian Adoption - ICWA
06/17/13 TX SCt on O Grounds & Removal for "Risk"
06/17/13 Attorney Training Scholarships - Due 7/5
05/28/13 Attorney Training Scholarships - Due 6/14
05/20/13 Statewide Child Welfare Law Conference
04/22/13 Key Legislative Hearings on April 22 & 23
04/16/13 Key Hearings & New Legislative Update
04/03/13 Child-Related Bills with Recent Activity
03/29/13 Child Protection Day at Capitol - April 5
03/29/13 See Updated Legislative Summary
03/20/13 April 8 Call for Nominations - Bar Award
03/12/13 Scholarships for ABA Training-Due April 12
03/11/13 Hearing on Protective Orders - Mar. 12
02/28/13 Study on Mental Health of Detained Youth
02/18/13 Chart of Bills Affecting CPS Cases
02/14/13 Hearing on Child Protection Issues Feb. 19
02/11/13 Key Hearing on DFPS Budget - Feb. 14
02/01/13 Pending Legislation on Child Protection
01/30/13 GAO Report on Use of Title IV-B Funds
01/09/13 New Comm'n on Child Abuse Deaths
01/02/13 Adoption Tax Credit Made Permanent
01/01/13 Congress Passes Bill to Amend FERPA
12/31/12 GAO Report on Children's Mental Health
12/01/12 Judge Specia New Commissioner of DFPS
10/12/12 Deportation Insufficient for Termination
09/13/12 Key Hearing on Foster Care Redesign
08/13/12 LSSS Loses Bid to Privatize Foster Care
08/07/12 ABA Passes Resolution Regarding FASD
07/09/12 TX SCt Rules on Citation by Publication
06/19/12 Attorney Training Scholarships-Due 6/28
05/24/12 Attorney Training Scholarships - Due 6/6
05/21/12 Children's Justice Act Grants - Due 6/ 29
05/03/12 Seminal Report -Education of Foster Youth
03/23/12 5th Cir. Decertifies Class re Foster Care
03/15/12 Report - Foster Care Licensing Standards
03/06/12 Report on Effect of CPS Budget on Services
02/03/12 TLC Replicates Online Center for Alabama
01/19/12 TX Settles Risperdal Suit for $158M
01/09/12 April 13 Call for Nominations - Bar Award
12/15/11 Bench Book on Child-Friendly Courtrooms
10/17/11 BBC Report on US Child Abuse Deaths
10/01/11 New Law on Foster Youth Identity Theft
09/29/11 NCJFCJ Judicial Training Scholarships
09/28/11 See Legislative Summary Regarding CPS
09/19/11 Study on Link Between Recession & Abuse
08/17/11 See Texas Child Well-Being Statistics
08/07/11 Possible Court Protest on Friday, Aug. 12
07/13/11 See Legislative Update on Child Abuse
06/20/11 Attorney Training Scholarships-Due 6/24
06/20/11 USSC Rules Re Child Support Obligor
06/16/11 USSC Holds Age Is a Factor for Miranda
05/05/11 Foster Care Redesign- Comment by 6/1
05/05/11 Attorney Training Scholarships-Due 5/20
04/11/11 See Legislative Update re Child Protection
03/31/11 Scholarships for ABA Training-Due April 8
03/29/11 Class Action Filed re TX Foster Children
03/15/11 April 1 Call for Nominations - Bar Award
02/25/11 Pending Legislation on Child Protection
12/14/10 Nat'l Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths
12/09/10 Free ABA Training, Dec. 15 at 11:00 am
12/08/10 ABA Seeks Input on Youth in Court
11/19/10 TLC Receives Award for Innovation
10/11/10 TLC Selected as Award Finalist
09/29/10 Faller Discusses Parental Alienation Issue
09/21/10 TX Ranks 50th in Child Abuse Prevention
09/20/10 New Report on Deaths From Child Abuse
09/14/10 Abused, Undocumented Children
08/11/10 Paper on Constitutional Rights of Children
08/11/10 R. Darin Darby Receives State Bar Award
08/10/10 ABA Policies on Child Abuse Proceedings
07/27/10 Jeffs' Convictions Reversed & Remanded
07/22/10 Child Abuse Cmte. Celebrates 25 Years
07/01/10 Travis County Model Court Newsletter
06/30/10 Scholarships for Child Abuse Workshop
05/01/10 DFPS to Redesign Foster Care in Texas
04/30/10 Shaken Baby Injuries Rise
04/15/10 See Letters by Hon, John Specia (Ret.)
04/13/10 Model Court's Seminar on Family Finding
04/09/10 Managing Attorney Position Open in Austin
03/24/10 April 1 Call for Nominations - Bar Award
03/18/10 NACC Reports on Nebraska GAL System
03/17/10 Third Circuit Issues First Sexting Opinion
03/02/10 Annual Report from Austin Model Court
02/26/10 Childress to Answer Judges' Questions
02/25/10 NACC Scholarships Available on March 1
02/18/10 New Tools for Judges in JD Cases
02/12/10 CCCP Releases 2009-10 Databook
12/16/09 See GAO Report on Seclusion & Restraint
11/10/09 "Sexploited" Teens Testify to House Cmte.
10/29/09 Challenge to TX Public-Indecency Law
10/28/09 Scholarships -Juv. Drug Court Training
10/26/09 FLDS Criminal Trial Begins in Eldorado
10/21/09 TX Leads Nation in Child Abuse Deaths
09/29/09 New Email Network for Drug Court Judges
09/22/09 Pro Bono Attorneys Available to Help You
08/11/09 See Charles Childress' Legislative Update
08/03/09 Richard Lavallo Receives State Bar Award
08/01/09 TLC's Director Receives National Award
07/16/09 See Update on Legislation Impacting CPS
07/01/09 See Legislative Update on Child Abuse
06/29/09 Paper on Gates Case Implications
06/25/09 USSC Finds AZ Strip Search Illegal
06/19/09 Gov. Perry Vetoes SB 1440
04/01/09 Charles Childress Joins TLC's Team
04/01/09 Raise Awareness About Child Abuse
03/10/09 Read House Testimony on CPS
03/02/09 Understanding Fostering Connections
02/28/09 Pending Legislation on Child Abuse
02/17/09 Call for Nominations for State Bar Award
02/12/09 Federal Court Decides Autism Case
02/04/09 CPPP Analyzes CPS Caseworker Turnover
01/06/09 See 2009 Statistics on Texas Children
12/22/08 See DFPS' Report on Eldorado FLDS Case
12/17/08 Representing Immigrant Children
12/12/08 Shop Online, Save Money, & Help TLC!
12/10/08 TLC Launches Website for California
11/17/08 Report on Medical Plan for Foster Children
11/03/08 Report on Impact of Federal Law on TX
10/13/08 Sex Offenders Must Register Email
10/08/08 Child Pornography Prosecution Expanded
10/08/08 Runaway and Homeless Youth Act
10/07/08 New Federal Child Welfare Law
09/22/08 TDFPS Kinship Care Program Evaluated
09/10/08 Association of Child Protection Judges
08/22/08 TDFPS Issues Advisory After Gates
08/18/08 Hon. S. McCown re 4th Amendment
08/11/08 Charles Childress Receives Award
08/01/08 FLDS Children's Attorney Reimbursement
07/28/08 Fourth Amendment & CPS Investigations
06/25/08 Death Penalty for Child Rape Rejected
06/25/08 USSC Upholds Confrontation Right
06/02/08 Judge Orders Return of FLDS Children
05/29/08 Supreme Court Denies Writ in FLDS Case
05/22/08 Court of Appeals Rules in FLDS Case
05/19/08 USSC Rules on Child Pornography
05/16/08 Mentors Available for FLDS Attorneys
05/01/08 Amicus Brief Filed in FLDS Case
04/14/08 TLC Is Assisting in FLDS Case
04/14/08 FLDS Case Needs Pro Bono Mentors
03/17/08 CJE: Family Violence & Child Abuse Credit
03/17/08 May 9 CLE on Child Molesters
02/02/08 See Report on Educating Foster Children
12/20/07 TLC's Director on Commission's Council
12/05/07 CJA Grant Funds Are Available
11/30/07 Supreme Court Awards Grant to TLC
11/20/07 Supreme Court Creates New Commission
11/12/07 ABA Center Staff Attorney Job Posting
11/01/07 FASD Funding for Courts and Others
10/08/07 See Report on Federal Funds for CPS
09/25/07 Supreme Court Holds Public Hearing
09/11/07 Supreme Court Sets Public Hearing
08/24/07 See Sampson's Legislative Update
08/13/07 Hon. Gil Jones Serves as Moderator
08/09/07 Hurley Honored by State Bar Committee
07/17/07 See TLC's Legislative Update
06/19/07 SB 758 Repeals CPS Privatization
05/31/07 Exciting Communication Tool for Judges!
05/31/07 TLC Begins Pro Bono Network
04/04/07 CA Is First State to Use TLC Model
04/03/07 CPPP Issues Paper on Privatization
03/22/07 SB 758 Committee Substitute Filed
03/15/07 Dr. Kellogg Available for Questions
01/22/07 CPPP Issues Child Protection Papers
12/10/06 Website Helps Youth Transition
12/06/06 Bill Filed to Deprivatize Certain Services
11/30/06 Nat'l Methamphetamine Awareness Day
11/14/06 Sen. Nelson Considers CPS Privatization
11/09/06 Class Action Against FL Agency
10/25/06 Dr. Bruce Perry to Speak in Dallas
10/14/06 Child Welfare Law Specialists Certified
08/10/06 Statement of Points Must Be Specific
08/03/06 Frivolous Hearing Held Constitutional
07/14/06 Uniform Act Regarding Children Published
05/16/06 Standing Challenged by Motion to Dismiss
03/29/06 Unborn Child Drug Convictions Reversed
03/27/06 C. Childress Joins Colleague Connection!
02/28/06 AG Says 'Meet' w/ Child Means in Person
02/09/06 Houston Court Upholds Embryo Contract
01/16/06 Link to CPS & Licensing Handbooks Here
12/28/05 AG Says New Law Is Unconstitutional
11/14/05 Evidence Expert to Take Site Users' Calls
10/11/05 ABA Substance Abuse CLE to Be at SMU
07/22/05 Can't Find It Here? Request a Resource!
07/22/05 See Sampson/Tindall's Legislative Update
06/27/05 USSC Rules on Protective Orders
06/15/05 Colleague Connection Has GROWN!
06/01/05 TLC Helps Other States Create Websites
05/31/05 Senate Bill 6 Makes Sweeping Changes
05/15/05 Seek/Share Information on Experts
05/07/05 TLC's Coming Attractions
02/17/05 Questions? Contact TLC's Help Desk
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07/16/09   Center for Public Policy Priorities Issues Paper on New Legislation Impacting CPS
 

The Center for Public Policy Priorities ("CPPP") has released a paper discussing new legislation impacting Child Protective Services, which was enacted in the 81st Legislative Session. CPPP also provides its recommendations for next steps following this legislation. Click here to view the paper.

07/01/09   Update on New Legislation Concerning Child Abuse and Neglect Is Now Available Here
 

Sandra Hachem, Co-Chair of the Subcomittee on Legislation for the State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, has graciously provided TLC with her compilation of the latest updates of legislation concerning child abuse and neglect. Click here to view Ms. Hachem's update on legislation from the 81st Legislative Session.

06/29/09   Center for Public Policy Priorities Issues a Policy Paper on Implications of the Gates Case
 

The Center for Public Policy Priorities has released a policy paper discussing the impact of the Gates decision on Child Protective Services and making recommendations for judges and CPS. The paper states that, in practice, the Gates definition of "exigent circumstances" necessary to enter or remain in a home, transport a child for an interview, or remove a child from a parent's custody may be stricter than pre-Gates. Since the time of the Gates decision, the proportion of children interviewed at children's advocacy centers has decreased noticeably; the proportion of cases with a "ruled out" designation has increased; and a smaller proportion of cases have been opened for services. Also, removals have dropped significantly. To read the full report and recommendations, please click here.

06/25/09   U.S. Supreme Court Finds that a Strip Search by Arizona School Officials Was Illegal
 

On June 25, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Arizona school officials violated the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches when they strip searched a teenage girl to try to find prescription-strength ibuprofen. In the 8-1 opinion, the Court held that the school's searches of the girl's backpack and outer clothes were permissible but that the school officials acted illegally when they asked to search her underwear. Justice David Souter wrote that there was no indication that the girl posed a danger to the other students, and there was no indication that the pills were in her underwear. Additionally, the Supreme Court ruled that the school officials in this case are immune from liability, but the Court remanded for consideration whether the school district is liable to the student. To read the opinion, please click here.

06/19/09   Gov. Perry Vetoes SB 1440
 

On June 19, 2009, Governor Rick Perry vetoed SB 1440, despite the fact that it had passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate. This bill set forth a procedure for Child Protective Services to obtain a civil warrant for investigating child abuse and neglect. To read Governor Perry's veto statement on SB 1440, please click here.

04/01/09   Charles Childress Has Joined TLC's Team as a Consulting Attorney
 

TLC is delighted to announce that Charles Childress has joined TLC's team of attorneys as a Consulting Attorney. Mr. Childress has made significant and numerous contributions to the field of child advocacy, having served as Co-Director of the Children's Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law, Senior Attorney at the Department of Family and Protective Services, and Chief Staff Attorney for the Fourth Court of Appeals, to name a few. He serves as a contributor and commentator for Sampson and Tindall's Texas Family Code Annotated. He was instrumental in the passage of landmark legislation that limits children's time in foster care and was named outstanding legislative liaison for the 2001 legislative session by the DFPS Office of General Counsel. Mr. Childress has devoted his career to serving children and families and was the 2008 recipient of the Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families, given by the Texas State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. .Click here to read Mr. Childress' resume.

04/01/09   Go Blue to End Child Abuse and Neglect!
 

On Wednesday, April 8, TDFPS is encouraging all businesses, organizations, agencies, and individuals throughout Texas to wear blue to end child abuse and neglect. You can raise awareness by wearing a blue shirt, posting "Keep Kids Safe" and "Stop Child Abuse" signs, wearing blue lapel ribbons, and encouraging others to do the same. Let's all wear blue to help end child abuse and neglect! Please contact TDFPS for more information.

03/10/09   House Committee on Human Services Hears Testimony on CPS
 

On March 10, 2009, the House Committee on Human Services heard invited testimony related to Child Protective Services. Click here to view a report of the testimony.

03/02/09   New Resource Answers Questions about the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008
 

Prepared by over fifteen organizations, including the Children's Defense Fund and the ABA Center on Children and the Law, New Help for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives: Questions and Answers About the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 provides information, in a question and answer format, about the new act and methods for implementing the improvements for children being raised by grandparents and relatives. The Guide also provides an implementation chronology and a list of selected resources. Please click here to read the article.

02/28/09   State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Shares Its Summaries of Pending Legislation
 

The Subcommittee on Legislation of the State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect (the "Committee") prepares summaries of pending legislation relating to child abuse and neglect. These summaries include comments where there are items of possible concern. TLC thanks the Committee for allowing us to share these summaries with our users. Please note that the comments do not reflect the official position of the Committee or of TLC. To view the summaries of key bills filed through February 28, 2009, click here.

02/17/09   The State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Seeks Nominations for Its Annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families
 

The State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect is seeking nominations for its annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families. The award is named after Ms. Rutland in recognition of her exceptional leadership as a founding member and chair of the Committee for over 20 years and her continuing dedication and many contributions to the field of child welfare. The award honors an attorney who has made a substantial contribution to the field of advocacy for abused and neglected children. The deadline for nominations is April 1, 2009. Click here to view the nomination form.

02/12/09   U.S. Court of Federal Claims Decides Autism Case
 

On February 12, 2009, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims determined, in three cases, that thimerosal-containing vaccinations do not contribute to immune dysfunction and that the MMR vaccine does not contribute to either autism or gastrointestinal dysfunction. To read the opinions, please click here.

02/04/09   CPPP Issues Paper on Caseworker Turnover within CPS
 

Children need stability and consistency in their lives, especially those in the child welfare system. Thus, the Center for Public Policy Priorities has issued a paper analyzing the high turnover rate within Texas' Child Protective Services, citing contributing factors such as the hiring process, recruiting issues, supervisor effectiveness, and failure to engage workers at the outset. The paper makes recommendations about how turnover can be reduced, such as a hiring process which includes supervisors, establising pay parity among the units, and reducing caseloads to a manageable level. Click here to read the paper.

01/06/09   Texas Children Trail Nation's Youth
 

According to a recent report by Texans Care for Children, Texas has yet to increase its national ranking on several child welfare issues. Texas children lag behind others in the country in the areas of health, economic security, and safety. Texas ranked last among states in health insurance coverage for teens, teen pregnancy prevention, and adults who complete high school. Infant mortality rates have increased, and Texas is ranked 45 of 50 states in deaths due to child abuse and neglect. More children are repeating earlier grades. On a positive note, Texas increased its ranking for child support collection and childhood vaccinations. Click here to read the press release. Click here to read the full report.

12/22/08   DFPS Releases Report on the Eldorado Investigation and Defends Its Actions
 

On December 22, 2008, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services released a report on its investigation of the FLDS compound in Eldorado. Sixty-two percent of the families investigated had a confirmed finding of abuse or neglect, with 124 perpetrators. The report documents DFPS's actions in the case, the need for the investigation, the services offered, the results, and the costs of the investigation. To read the full report, please click here.

12/17/08   Human Rights Initiative Offers Assistance with Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Cases
 

Many undocumented abused and neglected children qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), which will assist them in becoming a US citizen. Melissa Weaver, the Women and Children's Program Attorney at the Human Rights Initiative (HRI), is available to help attorneys whose clients may qualify for SIJS. Melissa is a participant in Colleague Connection -- Attorneys, and attorneys can send questions to Melissa through that email network. Judges can refer parties to HRI for assistance. Click here for more information about SIJS and the Human Rights Initiative. HRI's manuals on representing immigrant children can be found in the manuals section of the TLC website and under the topic "Immigrant Children."

12/12/08   Your Online Shopping Directs Retailers' Donations to TLC!
 

As the holidays approach, you may be looking for convenient, secure ways to do your holiday shopping. Here is a new way to shop online at over 600 major retailers, with special discounts, while these retailers generously donate a portion of the proceeds of your purchase to TLC! Participants include Southwest Airlines, Budget, Best Buy, Office Depot, Staples, OfficeMax, Barnes & Noble, Target, WalMart, Sears, AT&T, CompUSA, Hewlett Packard, Dell, Kodak, Macy's, 1-800-Pet-Meds, Netflix, etc. Best of all, this service is available year-round, giving you an opportunity to support our work with children on an ongoing basis, at no cost to you. Also, please tell your friends about this opportunity. Click here to learn more. (Once you select a retailer, you are taken to that retailer's online store to complete your transaction---with all of the product selection, safety, and security you expect from these major retailers.) We greatly appreciate your support and all you are doing to serve Texas' children.

12/10/08   TLC Has Launched the Website It Created and Is Hosting for the State of California
 

TLC is pleased to announce that we have created and are hosting a website modeled after the TLC site for the Administrative Office of the Courts of California and its Center for Families, Children and the Courts. This is the first organization to enlist TLC's assistance in designing and hosting a similar site to benefit their child advocacy community. This marks a momentous leap in realizing our vision of a network of sites across the nation, together furthering the common goal of helping children through the sharing of information and best practices. If you are interested in creating a site for the child advocacy community in your state based on the TLC site, please contact us at 800-993-5TLC (5852) or email TexasLawyersforChildren@yahoo.com.

11/17/08   Center for Public Policy Priorities Reports on Initial Implementation of Managed Medical Care Program for Foster Children
 

On November 17, 2008, the Center for Public Policy Priorities issued a report on the first six months of STAR Health, a Medicaid managed care program for foster children, implemented by the Health and Human Services Commission and the Department of Family and Protective Services. The report reviews health care needs of foster children and the various managed care models. It then examines STAR Health and makes recommendations for improvements. CPPP recommends changing the name of the program to prevent confusion with a similarly-named health program, evaluating the Health Passport program, changing elements of the provider requirements for court testimony, and better use of performance measures in evaluating managed care projects. CPPP notes that remaining questions to be addressed include loss of medical benefits as foster children leave the system, adequacy of availability of behavioral health services, and better access to medical services through regular Medicaid than through STAR Health. To see the report, click here.

11/03/08   Center for Public Policy Priorities Considers Impact of New Federal Child Welfare Law on Texas
 

On November 3, 2008, the Center for Public Policy Priorities issued a summary and analysis of the impact on Texas of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, the new federal law which overhauls various child welfare programs. Click here to view CPPP's policy paper, entitled "New Federal Foster Care Legislation: What It Could Mean for Texas."

10/13/08   New Federal Law Strengthens Requirements That Sex Offenders Register Their Email Addresses
 

On October 13, 2008, President Bush signed the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2008 (KIDS Act of 2008). The law requires the U.S. Attorney General to maintain, in the National Sex Offender Registry, all Internet identifiers for sex offenders. Identifiers include email addresses and other methods of Internet identification. Identifiers will not be publicly disclosed; however, social networking sites will have secure access to compare information in the registry with their users and are subject to penalties for misuse of the information. The AG must also notify sex offenders of the new requirements for providing their Internet identification.

10/08/08   New Federal Law Expands Prosecution of Child Pornography
 

On October 8, 2008, President Bush signed the Effective Prosecution of Child Pornography Act of 2007. This bill expands federal jurisdiction for certain crimes by including activities that use interstate commerce, such as sexual exploitation of children, selling or buying of children, and child pornography crimes. The act also declares possession of some child pornography to be a predicate crime for money laundering and expands the definition of "possess" with respect to child pornography to include accessing child pornography by computer with the intent to view.

10/08/08   Congress Increases Grants for Runaway and Homeless Youth Facilities and Enacts Requirements for Emergency Preparedness
 

On October 8, 2008, President Bush signed the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 2008, which amends provisions for federal grants to programs offering services to runaway youth. It increases minimum grant allotments and requires that youth shelters and transitional living programs have adequate emergency preparedness and management plans. The act also revises requirements for transitional living programs and increases the maximum allowable length of stay. Some youth projects receive priority funding in the bill. Statistics on runaway and homeless youth must be reported periodically to Congress.

10/07/08   New Federal Law Overhauls Child Welfare System
 

On October 7, 2008, President Bush signed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, which addresses educational stability for foster children, including requiring states to ensure that foster children remain in their original school unless not in the child's best interest; possible waiver of non-safety related licensing standards for relatives; foster care payments after age 18; transition for children aging out of foster care; training for agencies, relatives and court personnel; oversight of health care services; sibling placement; tribal programs; and special needs adoptions. State, local or tribal child welfare agencies, as well as nonprofit organizations, may receive matching grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with the goal of assisting children in foster care to reconnect with family members.

09/22/08   TDFPS Releases Report on Program to Increase Kinship Care Placements
 

On September 22, 2008, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services' Accountability Division of Child Protective Services issued a report evaluating its kinship care initiative. Following federal legislation requiring states to give preference to foster children's placements with relatives, Texas began pilot programs in several counties to increase the number of children in kinship care. In 2005, the Texas Legislature enacted the Family Focus Initiative of Child Protective Services, which increased financial support and services to relatives who accepted placements. This evaluation shows a substantial increase in the number of relative placements and increased positive outcomes for such children. The report notes two possible explanations for these findings: (1) that relative placements bestow positive benefits compared to foster care or (2) that the children who go into relative placements are younger and have fewer special needs. The report states that further study is needed to determine the impact of these factors and to determine the effect of increased financial assistance to the caregivers. Click here to view the report.

09/10/08   New Association for Child Protection Judges Forms
 

A group of Texas judges has recently formed a new association, the Texas Association of Child Protection Judges. Judges Robin Sage and Carole Clark were elected as co-presidents for this first year. This group is designed to offer judges who hear CPS cases support, information, and a connection with other judges. Membership is open to any judge or associate judge who handles child abuse and neglect cases. The members of this association will be using several of TLC's new secure, private communication tools to discuss key topics in handling CPS cases.Click here to view Judge Sage's invitation to join this important new association.

08/22/08   TDFPS Issues Advisory to All CPS Personnel on Removal, Transporation, and Home Entry in Response to Gates Decision
 

On August 22, 2008, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Carey Cockerell and Assistant Commissioner for Child Protective Services Joyce James, through General Counsel Gerry Williams, issued an "Urgent Legal Advisory for Investigations" to all CPS personnel. The Advisory is in response to the decision handed down July 28 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Gates v. TDPRS, et al. To read the Fifth Circuit's decision, click here. The Advisory sets out new practices for emergency removals of children, transportation of children from school, and for entering and remaining in a home. The new practices reflect changes made in response to the Fifth Circuit's definition of "exigent circumstances," which TDFPS considers as having a higher threshold than that currently utilized by CPS. The advisory lists factors to weigh when removal, transportation, or home entry are considered; questions investigators should ask themselves before taking action; and case examples to illustrate the new practices. The Advisory directs all personnel to put the new standards and practices into effect immediately until the agency issues revised policies and procedures. Click here to read the Advisory.

08/18/08   Hon. Scott McCown (Ret.) Will Discuss the Fifth Circuit's Recent Opinion on the Fourth Amendment's Application to CPS Investigations at the Upcoming CPS Judicial Conference
 

Hon. Scott McCown (Ret.) will discuss the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' recent opinion in Gates v. TDPRS, No. 06-20763, concerning the Fourth Amendment's application to CPS investigations, and the opinion's possible ramifications at the upcoming CPS Judicial Conference. The conference is open to judges only and will be conducted August 25-27, 2008, at the Sheraton Austin Hotel in Austin, Texas. It is sponsored by the Texas Center for the Judiciary and funded by a grant from the Texas Supreme Court's Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families. For registration information, call the Texas Center for the Judiciary at 512-482-8986.

08/11/08   State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Names Charles Childress as Winner of Its Annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families
 

The State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect honored Charles Childress as the recipient of its annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families. The award is named after Ms. Rutland in recognition of her exceptional leadership as a founding member and chair of the Committee for over 20 years and her continuing dedication and many contributions to the field of child welfare. The award was presented to Professor Childress at the Advanced Family Law Course. Professor Childress has made significant and numerous contributions to the field of child advocacy, having served as Co-Director of the Children's Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law, Senior Attorney at the Department of Family and Protective Services, and Chief Staff Attorney for the Fourth Court of Appeals, to name a few. He was instrumental in the passage of landmark legislation that limits children's time in foster care and was named outstanding legislative liaison for the 2001 legislative session by the DFPS Office of General Counsel. Click here to view the letter nominating Professor Childress for this prestigious award.

08/01/08   Texas Access to Justice Foundation Is Administering Reimbursements to Pro Bono Children's Attorneys in FLDS Case
 

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation (TAJF) is administering donated funds, mostly from the Texas Bar Foundation, to distribute a nominal amount of reimbursement to attorneys providing pro bono representation of children in the FLDS case. This small pool of funds will be used to help defer some of the travel and litigation expenses that will not otherwise be reimbursed by the county, a law firm, or a client, and is available to attorneys whose representation has resulted in a financial hardship. The amount of reimbursement will depend on the number of requests submitted. The deadline for submitting requests is August 29, 2008. Click here to download the request form.


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