Recent News

MOST RECENT NEWS ITEM


09/05/17   TLC Has Added Resources to Assist with Helping Displaced Foster Children
 

In order to assist you as you work to help foster children who have been displaced due to Hurricane Harvey, TLC has added some new resources to the Online Center dealing with helping children cope with the trauma of a hurricane and also dealing with the legal rights of displaced children regarding education. As you may know, the Online Center already includes over 85 other articles on various topics related to the impact of trauma on children. These can be located in the section on Resources under the topic of "Trauma" and its numerous subtopics. For ideas on helping children after a hurricane that you can use yourself and give to foster parents or other caregivers, click here. For tips on helping children cope with a traumatic event, click here. For information on helping children deal with loss and frightening news, click here. For information written for youth on the legal rights of displaced children concerning education, click here. For the "Disaster Edition of the Homeless Education Advocacy Manual," click here.

 

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09/05/17 Resources to Help Displaced Children
09/01/17 Receive or Provide Hurricane Help
08/28/17 Supreme Ct. Emergency Order re CPS Cases
08/24/17 MCLE Webcasts on Trial Skills - Postponed
08/01/17 Petition for Child Protection Law Section
07/21/17 Legislative Update & Webcast on July 24
06/01/17 Attorney Training Scholarships- Due June 5
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
02/14/17 Board Certification on Child Welfare Law
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
VIEW ALL OTHER NEWS ITEMS(If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, click here.)
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.

07/28/08   Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Delineates How Fourth Amendment Applies to Department's Entry into Home and Removal of Children from Home and from School
 

On July 28, 2008, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision affirming a district court's granting of summary judgment to governmental defendants in Gates v. TDPRS, No. 06-20763. In a lengthy opinion, the Court examined the constitutionality of the Department's entry into and removal of children from a home and from school without a court order. Concluding that the law concerning how the Fourth Amendment standards would be applied in a CPS investigation was not clearly established at the time of the entry and removal, the Court then delineated the parameters and stated in its final summary that the law is now clearly established. The Court examined at length the issues of consent, exigent circumstances, and the "special needs" doctrine, and concluded that since the law concerning the "special needs" doctrine was not clearly established at the time, the government actors could have reasonably believed that it did apply and were, therefore, entitled to qualified immunity. Other issues addressed included due process rights, supervisory liability, governmental liability under 1983 and Texas Constitution issues. Click here to read the opinion.

06/25/08   U.S. Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty for Child Rape Is Not Proportional Punishment
 

On June 25, 2008, the U. S. Supreme Court issued an opinion holding that convicted child rapists cannot be sentenced to death. In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court said that "the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child." The case, Kennedy v. Louisiana, invalidated a Louisiana law. Texas has a similar law, but it applies only to repeat offenders and when victims are younger than 14. Texas legislators fortuitously included a provision that persons convicted under the law would receive a sentence of life without parole in the event the Court rejected the death penalty. In its ruling, the Court left open the issue of use of the death penalty for crimes against the state (as opposed to crimes against individuals), such as "treason, espionage, terrorism, and drug kingpin activity."

06/25/08   US Supreme Court Holds Deceased Domestic Violence Victim's Statement Inadmissible
 

On June 25, 2008, the United States Supreme Court reversed the California Supreme Court's ruling in Giles v. California, 2008 U.S. LEXIS 5264 (2008), and held that a criminal defendant did not forfeit his Sixth Amendment right to confront a witness because he murdered the victim-witness. Giles was convicted of first degree murder of his girlfriend, and evidence against him included the girlfriend's statement to police three weeks earlier that he had choked her and had threatened to slash her with a knife. Giles pled self defense. The Court rejected the state's argument that a defendant forfeits his right to object to admission of evidence on confrontation grounds when he commits a wrongful act that renders a witness unavailable. The state had to show, but did not, that Giles intended to prevent the victim from testifying when he murdered her.

06/02/08   Judge Walther Orders Return of Children but Puts Safeguards in Place
 

On June 2, 2008, Hon. Barbara Walther, Judge of the 51st District Court of Schleicher County, signed an order pursuant to order of the Texas Supreme Court and the Third Court of Appeals. Judge Walther's order vacated her prior designation of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services as temporary sole managing conservator of the children removed from the YFZ Ranch, home to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Judge Walther's order also required that the children be returned to parents, managing conservators, or legal guardians (collectively "caretakers"). Each person receiving possession of a child is to provide a fingerprint and have a photo taken. Caretakers must take parenting classes and are ordered not to remove the children from Texas. The Department's investigation is to continue, with the Department's having access to the residence of each child for unannounced home visits. To read the entire order, click here.

05/29/08   Texas Supreme Court Says Removal of FLDS Children Was Unwarranted
 

On May 29, 2008, the Texas Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of mandamus in Cause No. 08-0391, styled In Re Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. The department had requested relief from a Third Court of Appeals order granting a conditional writ of mandamus pursuant to a petition filed by thirty-eight mothers of children the department had removed from the Yearning for Zion ranch. The Supreme Court refused to disturb the opinion of the Court of Appeals and concluded that the removal was not warranted. The opinion applies to approximately 120 of the 468 children removed from the ranch, but, in practical terms, may apply to many of them. To read the opinion, click here. Justices O'Neill, Johnson, and Willett concurred in part and dissented in part. To read the dissenting opinion, click here.

05/22/08   Austin Court of Appeals Orders District Court to Vacate Order in FLDS Case
 

A three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeals has ordered the district court in the FLDS case "to vacate its temporary orders granting sole managing conservatorship of the children of the [38 women who sought a writ of mandamus] to the Department." Click here to view the Memorandum Opinion.

05/19/08   US Supreme Court Says Law Criminalizing Offers to Transfer Child Pornography Is Constitutional, Even When Transfer Involves Children or Photos That Do Not Exist
 

On May 19, 2008, in U.S. v. Williams, 2008 U.S. Lexis 4314 (2008), the United States Supreme Court ruled that a federal law outlawing pandering of child pornography is constitutional. The case involved a defendant's offer and solicitation of child pornography, including the offer of pictures of a child that did not exist. The Court held that such offers and requests are excluded from First Amendment protection and that the statute's requirement that the defendant act "in a manner that reflects the belief" that the subject of the transfer would be child pornography is not overly broad.

05/16/08   Pro Bono Mentors Are Available to Help the Eldorado Children's Attorneys
 

Numerous experienced ad litem attorneys, as well as trial attorneys and attorneys from the Appellate Section of the Texas State Bar are now available to help the children's attorneys in the Eldorado FLDS case. To find a pro bono mentor, Eldorado children's attorneys can click on "Resources" on the blue menu bar above to visit the special Eldorado FLDS Compound Case Resources section, or click on "Pro Bono" and then on "Find a Pro Bono Attorney." Experienced ad litems for children, trial attorneys, and appellate attorneys are invited to continue to volunteer to assist the attorneys who are generously donating their time to represent these children---many of whom have limited experience or even no prior experience in serving as an ad litem for a child in a CPS case. It would be very helpful to these volunteers to have access to mentors who are experienced ad litems and trial and appellate attorneys as they work through the complex issues they will face. To volunteer to be a mentor, go to "Pro Bono" on the blue menu bar above and complete the form. Under "Areas of Assistance" check the box for "Eldorado Children" and all other areas that apply, and under "Types of Assistance" you can check "Mentor Another Attorney."

05/01/08   Liberty Legal Institute Filed an Amicus Brief in the FLDS Case
 

The Liberty Legal Institute ("LLI"), a legal advocacy group for religious freedom and parental rights, filed an amicus brief concerning the FLDS case in the Third District Court of Appeals. LLI argued that although parental rights are afforded the protection of strict scrutiny, they can be overcome by evidence of a finding of sexual exploitation or a threat to health and safety. LLI further argued that substantive analysis of the church autonomy doctrine is unnecessary upon a finding of sexual exploitation or a threat to health or safety. To view the brief, click here.

04/14/08   TLC Assisting in Eldorado FLDS Case
 

TLC is distributing information and implementing communication services to assist the legal professionals handling the Eldorado FLDS case. Our site now has a special page that shows a consolidated list of resources and tools available to these professionals. TLC is also acquiring additional materials and research and is developing tools specifically for those handling the cases. TLC site users can click on "Resources," then "Eldorado FLDS Compound Case Resources" to see these services. Some services are limited to the attorneys representing the children.

04/14/08   TLC Is Seeking Pro Bono Mentors to Help with the Eldorado Case
 

Attorneys, here is a chance to help the children of the Eldorado FLDS case. If you have experience in representing children or in trial preparation skills or appellate law, please sign up for TLC's Pro Bono Network. Some of the attorneys who are generously donating their time to represent these children have limited experience or even no prior experience in serving as an ad litem for a child in a CPS case. It would be very helpful to these volunteers to have access to mentors who are experienced ad litems and/or trial and appellate attorneys as they work through the complex issues they will face. To register, go to "Pro Bono" on the blue menu bar above and complete the form. Under "Areas of Assistance" check the box for "Eldorado Children" and all other areas that apply, and under "Types of Assistance" you can check "Mentor Another Attorney."

03/17/08   CJE Luncheons with Family Violence/Child Abuse Credit in May
 

Anna Salter, Ph.D., an internationally acclaimed expert on sex offenders and victims, will be presenting "Truth, Lies, and Sex Offenders," a 2-hour CJE event which includes a complimentary luncheon. Dr. Salter will present in Fort Worth on Thursday, May 8th and in Dallas on Friday, May 9th. These events are open to any sitting judge, but an RSVP is required. To register, go to "Conferences/CLE" on the blue menu bar above, and click on "TLC's Live Judicial Trainings."

03/17/08   Anna Salter, Ph.D., to Present on "Truth, Lies, and Sex Offenders" in Dallas on May 9th
 

Internationally acclaimed expert on sex offenders and victims, Anna Salter, Ph.D., will be presenting "Truth, Lies, and Sex Offenders" on Friday morning, May 9th, in Dallas. Dr. Salter received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Harvard and was the winner of the Significant Achievement Award from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers. She is the former Director of Child Psychiatry Consultation at Dartmouth Medical School. This compelling presentation provides 2.75 hours of MCLE credit, including .5 of ethics, as well as CEU credit. Space is limited, so register soon! To register, go to "Conferences/CLE" on the blue menu bar above, then click on "TLC's Upcoming Live CLE Programs."

02/02/08   CPPP Report Examines Education of Foster Children
 

The Center for Public Policy Priorities has examined the reasons foster children have lower test scores, lower graduation rates, less post-secondary education, a higher rate of discipline problems, less extra-curricular involvement, and higher drop-out rates than other students. Some of the reasons are frequent moves in placements and missing school for therapy, medical appointments, and court appearances. In 2008, the federal government's Child and Family Service Review program will study whether Texas is providing appropriate educational services to foster children. CPPP's policy recommendations include increasing collaboration between the foster system and education system, improving data collection by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and by the Texas Education Agency, revising the application of DFPS' and TEA's confidentiality rules to foster children, making a child's education portfolio web-based, keeping more children in their home schools, applying the federal homeless education assistance act to foster children, and providing extra funding to schools with large foster care populations. Click here to view the report.

12/20/07   TLC's Director to Serve on the Collaborative Council of the Texas Supreme Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families
 

Barbara Elias-Perciful, Director of Texas Lawyers for Children, was invited to serve on the Collaborative Council of the Texas Supreme Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families. The Permanent Commission was established to improve court practices for children in the child protection system. The Collaborative Council, a multidisciplinary advisory group, will assist the Commission and provide meaningful input. Council members may serve on committees or participate in special projects of the Commission. Current Commission committees oversee federal court improvement grants and focus on legislation and planning. If you have ideas you would like to have presented to the Commission, please contact Ms. Elias-Perciful at 800-993-5TLC (5852) or TexasLawyersforChildren@yahoo.com.

12/05/07   Texas Center for the Judiciary Accepting Applications for Children's Justice Act Grants
 

On December 5, the Texas Center for the Judiciary announced it is seeking applications from state agencies, local governments (including courts), nonprofit organizations, and educational institutions for grant funds to be made available from October 1, 2008, through September 30, 2009. The Center administers federal funds allocated to Texas by the Children's Justice Act Project. Texas has a total of $925,000 available for successful applicants. Proposed projects should fit one of the following areas: 1) handling of abuse and neglect cases in a manner that reduces trauma to the child and family and that ensures procedural fairness to the accused; 2) new programs that test innovative approaches and techniques in order to speed resolution of court proceedings and enhance their effectiveness; 3) reform of laws, regulations, and procedures to provide comprehensive protection to children and procedural fairness to all involved. In awarding the grants, the Center will give special consideration to projects addressing child sexual abuse, children with disabilities, child fatalities, and ad litem performance, as well as multi-jurisdictional projects. Applications must be submitted by January 11, 2008. For a complete description of the grants and an application form, click here.

11/30/07   Texas Supreme Court's Task Force on Foster Care Awards a Court Improvement Grant to TLC
 

TLC is thrilled to report that the Texas Supreme Court's Task Force on Foster Care selected the TLC website as one of the projects to receive a Court Improvement Program grant. Grant recipients are projects identified by the Task Force as those which can improve the court system's handling of child protection cases. In establishing the new Commission on Children, Youth and Families, the Court noted, "As gatekeepers for families in crisis, courts must make life-altering decisions that require knowledge of multiple and complex issues....Too often courts lack the technology, training, and resources needed to make good decisions." We are honored to be included in the group of projects the Task Force considers to be solutions to the problems in our current system.

11/20/07   Texas Supreme Court Establishes Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families
 

On November 20, the Texas Supreme Court signed orders establishing a new Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families and appointing the Commission's members. TLC proudly congratulates our four Advisory Council members who were appointed to the Commission -- Hon. Patricia Macias, Hon. Cheryl Lee Shannon, Hon. John Specia, and Fairy D. Rutland, J.D. The Commission will serve as the umbrella organization for all efforts to promote court improvement in child protection cases in Texas, with the goal of achieving greater safety, permanence, and well-being for children in foster care. The Court noted, "As gatekeepers for families in crisis, courts must make life-altering decisions that require knowledge of multiple and complex issues....Too often courts lack the technology, training, and resources needed to make good decisions....[J]udicial leadership at the highest level is needed for systemic improvement." Click here to view the order creating the Commission. Click here to view the order appointing the Commission members.

11/12/07   ABA Center on Children and the Law Announces Staff Attorney Position for Parents' Attorney in D.C. Office
 

The American Bar Association has announced an opening for a staff attorney at its Center on Children and the Law in Washington, D.C. The job posting is from Nov. 9 to Dec. 9, 2007. The position is part of a new project to improve representation for parents involved in the child welfare system. The Center is seeking an experienced attorney who has represented parents and has ideas on how to improve representation and child welfare policy. View the full job announcement here. Please share it with any attorney who would be interested in and qualified for the position.

11/01/07   SAMHSA Seeks Proposals To Address Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has announced a request for proposals from juvenile courts and certain other organizations interested in receiving funding and training to address fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Organizations legally authorized to provide services to dependent youth or adjudicated youth on probation are also eligible. The deadline for proposals is Nov. 29, 2007. Click here to learn more.

10/08/07   CPPP Issues Report on Texas' Use of Federal Funds for Child Protection and Foster Care
 

The Center for Public Policy Priorities (CPPP) has issued a report detailing the percentage of Texas' child protection spending that comes from various federal programs. The paper discusses each program's spending requirements and recent Congressional changes to the programs. CPPP endorses the recommendations of the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care that Congress loosen restrictions on federal funding, giving states more flexibility on how the funds are spent. Click here to read the report.

09/25/07   Texas Supreme Court Holds Hearing on Creation of a New Commission
 

On September 25, 2007, the Supreme Court of Texas considered public comments on creation of a Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families. The Court heard testimony from 30 witnesses familiar with the child protection system, including TLC's director. In summary, Justice Harriet O'Neill said, "The unanimous consensus at the hearing was that a Commission would provide a vehicle for leadership and collaboration among the judiciary, the legislature, state child-welfare agencies, various stakeholders, and the community. Best practices that have been developed in various parts of the state can be shared with others, and data can be gathered to measure progress and quantify the need for resources. Most importantly, real change can be effected that will improve the lives and life chances for Texas children who find themselves in the foster-care system through no fault of their own." Video of the hearing is available on the Court's website by clicking here. To view a transcript of the hearing click here.


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