Recent News


06/01/17   Supreme Court Children's Commission Is Providing Scholarships for Attorneys for the Child Abuse Track at the Advanced Family Law Conference - Deadline June 5

The Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission is offering registration scholarships to attorneys for the Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Track at the annual State Bar of Texas' Advanced Family Law Conference. This track covers current topics of interest to Texas attorneys who practice on the CPS docket. The Advanced Family Law CLE 1-Day CAN track will be held live in San Antonio, Texas, on August 9, 2017, with upcoming video replays in Houston on September 22, 2017; Dallas on September 29; and South Padre on October 13. The deadline to apply is 5:00 pm Monday, June 5, 2017. To access the application, click here.


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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
02/03/17 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.)
05/31/07   TLC Begins Statewide Pro Bono Network

TLC is proud to announce the opening of its statewide pro bono network. TLC is beginning to recruit volunteer attorneys to provide assistance to child abuse attorneys or to represent parties needing pro bono legal services in child abuse cases. You can help in this effort by letting attorneys know they can volunteer in this new way. Volunteer attorneys can help child abuse attorneys by mentoring them in basic trial skills or trial preparation or by providing many other related services, such as establishing trusts for disabled children. Examples of pro bono services for parties would include handling adoptions, kinship placements, custody disputes, and immigration issues. Any licensed attorney who is in good standing with the State Bar of Texas is eligible to be part of the network. Please tell attorneys about this exciting new pro bono opportunity! For more information, click on "Pro Bono" on the blue menu bar.

04/04/07   California Is the First State to Contract with TLC to Create a Similar Website

TLC is pleased to announce that we have entered into a contract with the Administrative Office of the Courts of California to create and host a website modeled after the TLC site for California's 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

04/03/07   Center for Public Policy Priorities Issues Paper on Privatization of Foster Care and Adoption Services

The Center for Public Policy Priorities ("CPPP") has issued a policy paper providing its analysis of whether Texas should privatize the state's foster care and adoption services. The Child Protective Services ("CPS") division of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services recruits, trains, and monitors foster parents and adoptive parents. Additionally, CPS contracts with private providers for those services. SB 6 required the department to privatize all of these services. The legislature is considering whether or not to continue this mandate. CPPP's paper considers issues raised by this mandate and expresses its analysis of privatization of these services. Click here to read the paper.

03/22/07   SB 758 Committee Substitute Reduces Privatization

The Committee Substitute of SB 758 makes significant changes to the originally submitted bill. The original bill limited the mandate that the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services privatize case management services, which was implemented during the last legislative session via SB 6, to 10 percent of the cases in which the department has been appointed temporary or permanent managing conservator of a child. The Committee Substitute further reduces the mandate to requiring only that the department develop a pilot program for the competitive procurement of case management services in one or more geographic areas of the state with a goal of privatizing case management services in at least 10 percent of the cases. In addition, CSSB 758 also provides new definitions for certain terms, including "case management services," "substitute care services," and "conservatorship services." The new definitions give the department greater authority and flexibility. Click here to see the full text of the Committee Substitute of SB 758.

03/15/07   Child Abuse Expert, Dr. Nancy Kellogg, Will Answer Medical Questions for TLC's Attorney Users

TLC is excited to welcome Dr. Nancy Kellogg to its new "Ask an Expert" feature. This feature is a unique way for TLC's attorney users to have access to outstanding experts across various disciplines. Dr. Kellogg is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and medical director of Christus Santa Rosa Center for Miracles and ChildSafe. She is a nationally recognized pediatrician specializing in child abuse. Dr. Kellogg has agreed to answer medical questions about child abuse and neglect from TLC's attorney users. Her colleague, Child Abuse Fellow Dr. James Anderst, will assist her in answering questions. Just send your questions through Colleague Connection with the word "Kellogg" in the subject line, and we will deliver the questions to Dr. Kellogg. She will provide a brief response that will be distributed to all Colleague Connection participants. She may also refer us to articles or papers on the subject at issue. Questions and answers will necessarily be general in nature and not client-specific. Participation in this service is subject to all terms in the Colleague Connection User Agreement. You may click here to view an article by Dr. Kellogg that was published on the editorial page of the San Antonio Express-News on February 4, 2007. We look forward to benefiting from this outstanding resource.

01/22/07   Center for Public Policy Priorities Issues Two New Papers on Improving Judicial Leadership and Legal Representation of All Parties in Child Protection Cases

On Jan. 22, 2007, the Center for Public Policy Priorities issued two papers written pursuant to the Home At Last Project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts. The first paper, "Judicial Leadership and Child Protection," focuses on judicial leadership in child protection cases. It examines the limits of judicial leadership, especially in terms of extra-judicial activities, such as service on child advocacy organization boards. It summarizes the Texas judiciary's current involvement in improving child protection courts and suggests things a judge should avoid to remain impartial. Click here to view the paper. The second paper, "Lawyers and Child Protection," covers concerns with legal representation of TDFPS, parents, and children. It reviews the changes in Senate Bill 6 (2005) and suggests actions to improve representation of all parties. Click here to view the second paper.

12/10/06   TDFPS Launches Website with Resources for Foster Youth Transitioning to Adulthood

TDFPS announced a new website, The target group is foster youth who are aging out of the system and who do not have the family support that other teens have to make that transition. Topics on the site include education, finances, health, and housing. Youth can find information on enrolling in college, state and local services, job searching, planning a budget and establishing credit, choosing a used car, and purchasing auto insurance.

12/06/06   Naishtat Bill Would Remove Case Management Services from CPS Privatization Plan

On December 6, 2006, Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin) introduced HB 363, which would remove the words "case management services" from Sections 264.106 and 264.1063 of the Texas Family Code and from Chapter 45 of the Human Resources Code. These changes would take CPS case management services out of the privatization plan enacted last session, while keeping provisions for privatization of foster care services in the statutes.

11/30/06   Department of Justice Announces Events for National Methamphetamine Awareness Day

On November 30, 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice will sponsor National Methamphetamine Awareness Day to generate awareness about the damaging effects of meth abuse. There will be a national event hosted by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and local educational events throughout the country. Watch your local news for details. Click here for more information from the Department of Justice.

11/14/06   Death of a Child in Foster Care Raises Questions at Senate Health and Human Services Committee Hearing

On November 14, Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee's chairwoman, heard testimony regarding the privatization of CPS services. Sen. Nelson indicated that legislation passed to privatize various CPS services was intended to provide protections that would prevent injuries to children in foster care. The death of 16-month-old Christian Nieto in a Corsicana foster home, managed by a private agency, led Nelson to ask child abuse professionals testifying at the hearing numerous questions about the legislation. The current legislation calls for the outsourcing of various CPS services to private agencies in all regions by 2011. Case management services, which include monitoring the child's progress and the efforts made by the parents, are also to be privatized under this legislation. Sen. Nelson also raised questions about the implementation of this plan. The Austin American-Statesman quotes her as saying, "We are not privatizing the printing of telephone books here. We are talking about children, and we can't make mistakes." Practitioners who have a position or information on the issue should call their state legislators and/or Sen. Nelson's office.

11/09/06   Judge Orders Florida's Department of Children and Families Not To House Children in Office Conference Rooms

A Florida state circuit judge has ordered Florida's Department of Children and Families ("DCF") to use only licensed facilities for emergency placement of children temporarily removed from their homes. DCF offices in at least two areas of the state were allowing children to sleep in their conference rooms instead of in shelters or foster homes. The ruling came Nov. 9 in the class-action suit, Susan C. v. Florida Department of Children & Family Services, filed on April 4, 2006, on behalf of children being held in a conference room in Tallahassee. DCF had argued that it was not subject to the licensing requirements in state law.

10/25/06   Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. Will Speak in Dallas on October 31, 2006

World-renowned child psychiatrist Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., will speak in Dallas on Tuesday, October 31, 2006, from 12:00-1:30 p.m. at the 10th Anniversary Luncheon Celebration of AVANCE-Dallas in the Pavillion at Belo Mansion, 2101 Ross Ave. Dr. Perry is internationally acclaimed for his clinical research and practice focusing on the long-term effects of neglect and trauma on children. His work has been critical in understanding how childhood experiences, such as neglect and traumatic stress, impact the development of the brain. Click here for full details.

10/14/06   National Association of Council for Children Introduces First Group of Attorneys Certified as Child Welfare Law Specialists

The National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) proudly introduced the first group of attorneys to be certified as Child Welfare Law Specialists at the 29th Annual Children's Law Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. In October 2006, eighty-five attorneys, who represent children, parents, and state welfare agencies in abuse and neglect cases, received their certificates as Child Welfare Law Specialists at an awards ceremony in Louisville. At this time, certification is only available in California, Michigan, and New Mexico, but the NACC is beginning to offer the program in other jurisdictions. For more information, including how to contact the NACC about certification in Texas, click here.

08/10/06   Fort Worth Court of Appeals Construes New Tex. Fam. Code 263.405(i) As Requiring the Statement of Points To Be Specific

In an opinion that questions the practical applications and constitutionality of newly-enacted Tex. Fam. Code 263.405(i), the Fort Worth Court of Appeals reluctantly dismissed the appeal of a mother whose parental rights had been terminated. In the Interest of D.A.R., 201 S.W.3d 229 (Tex. App.--Fort Worth 2006). The mother failed to file a statement of points with her specific challenges to the judgment. The court concluded that the new statute clearly requires a statement of points to be specific and not simply allege that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient. The court noted that this provision was enacted in response to conflicting opinions in the courts of appeal regarding this issue.

08/03/06   Fort Worth Court of Appeals Says Frivolous Hearing Statute Is Constitutional

In a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 263.405 of the Texas Family Code, which concerns frivolous hearings, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals held that there was no equal protection violation because the statute applies equally to indigent and non-indigent parents and to parents in termination suits initiated by TDFPS and in suits by private individuals. In the Interest of T.C. and G.C., 200 S.W.3d 788 (Tex. App. -- Fort Worth 2006).

07/14/06   "Uniform Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect and Custody Proceedings Act" Published

The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws published the "Uniform Representation of Children in Abuse, Neglect, and Custody Proceedings Act" in July 2006. The Act sets forth the circumstances under which children are appointed legal representatives in abuse or neglect proceedings, as well as in custody proceedings. A child can be appointed a "best interests attorney," to "protect the child's best interests without being bound by the child's directives or objectives," a "child's attorney," who "provides legal representation for a child," or a "court-appointed advisor," an "individual, not functioning as an attorney, appointed to assist the court in determining the best interests of a child." Under the Uniform Act, the court shall appoint either a child's attorney or a best interests attorney in an abuse or neglect proceeding. The court may consider factors such as the child's age and developmental level, any desire for an attorney expressed by the child, whether the child has expressed objectives in the proceeding, and the value of an independent advocate for the child's best interest. Individual states may choose between different alternatives in determining under what circumstances these three categories of attorneys can be appointed. To read the Act, click here.

05/16/06   Texarkana Court of Appeals Rules That Standing Can Be Challenged by a Motion to Dismiss Instead of Summary Judgment

The Sixth Court of Appeals in In the Interest of C.M.C. and J.T.C., 192 S.W.3d 866 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 2006) affirmed the trial court's dismissal of a petition for adoption filed by grandparents. Parental rights had been terminated previously. The grandparents argued that the issue of standing could be decided only by a motion for summary judgment requiring 21 days notice to them. CPS had filed a motion to dismiss challenging the grandparents' standing. The court ruled that dismissal for lack of standing is not a decision on the merits of the case; it is an issue of subject matter jurisdiction and can be decided on a plea to the jurisdiction. The CPS motion was, in effect, a plea to the jurisdiction. In addition, the grandparents did not raise an issue of fact on standing because they did not meet the requirement under Section 102.005 of the Texas Family Code that they have had "substantial past contact" with the children. The evidence presented by affidavit did not, as a matter of law, meet the criteria.

03/29/06   Amarillo Court of Appeals Reverses Convictions for Delivery of Controlled Substances to Unborn Children

The Amarillo Court of Appeals reversed the convictions and rendered acquittal of two women who had used drugs while pregnant and had pled guilty to violation of Texas Health and Safety Code section 481.122(a)(1), which states it is an offense to knowingly deliver a controlled substance to a child. In Ward v. State, 188 S.W.3d 874 (Tx. App.--Amarillo 2006), the court of appeals noted that "deliver" means to transfer possession, actually or constructively. The State had charged Ward with actual transfer, but the evidence showed only that the unborn child had the drug in his bloodstream. The court noted that there was no evidence that "the unborn child actually handled, touched, manipulated or otherwise exercised possession over the drug." Citing precedent that possession of a drug requires the ability to exercise control over it, the court concluded that mere presence of drugs in the blood does not constitute possession and is, therefore, not evidence of "delivery" of a controlled substance. The court did not consider whether the unborn child fit the definition of "child" in the statute, did not consider the issue of constructive transfer, and did not consider the constitutional issues raised. In the unpublished opinion in Smith v. State, No. 07-04-0490-CR, 2006 Tex. App. LEXIS 2370 (Tex. App.--Amarillo Mar. 29, 2006), the court adopted the same reasoning as in Ward. Both opinions were issued March 29, 2006.

03/27/06   Colleague Connection Is Proud to Welcome Charles Childress as a New Participant!

TLC is very excited about the addition of Charles Childress to Colleague Connection -- Attorneys. Charles Childress is a director of the Children's Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law. He is also a contributor and commentator for Sampson and Tindall's Texas Family Code Annotated and for the State Bar Family Law Section report. Thanks to all of you, Colleague Connection is a great help to many practicing attorneys. We appreciate how valuable sharing ideas and issues can be. Charles Childress' participation (as time permits) will benefit all of us by adding to our collective expertise and experience. Please continue sending your questions and comments. The input so many of you have provided to others has been invaluable. Click here for a biographical sketch on Charles. Click here to see his resume.

02/28/06   AG Says the Family Code Requires an Attorney Ad Litem to Meet Face to Face with a Child Client Before Each Hearing

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued an opinion on February 28, 2006, in response to a request by the heads of two committees of the Texas Legislature. The request concerned whether Section 107.004(d) of the Texas Family Code requires an attorney ad litem appointed under Chapter 262 or 263 to meet in person with a child over four years of age before each court hearing or if a telephone interview satisfies that provision. Additionally, the request asked if, under Section 107.004(e) of the Texas Family Code, the court has meaningful discretion to determine if an attorney has shown good cause not to comply with subsection (d) because a meeting was not feasible or in the child's best interest. The Attorney General reviewed the meaning of "meet" and determined that the statute requires a face to face meeting with the child prior to each court hearing. Using the common definition of "feasible," the Attorney General stated that a court has discretion to find that good cause is established if the attorney shows that compliance was impracticable, not capable of being done, or was not in the best interest of the child. Click here to see the full text of the opinion.

02/09/06   Houston's First Court of Appeals Upholds a Husband and Wife's Written Contract Authorizing Disposal of Frozen Embryos in the Event of Divorce

The First Court of Appeals in Houston reversed and remanded a trial court's judgment involving three frozen embryos created during a marriage. In the only contested issue of the divorce, the trial court awarded the wife possession of the embryos despite a written agreement signed by the husband and the wife authorizing disposal of the embryos in the event of divorce. The written agreement was part of the documentation signed at the fertility clinic. The court of appeals held that the trial court abused its discretion and improperly rewrote the parties' agreement. It remanded for an order to discard the embryos. Roman v. Roman , No. 01-04-00541-CV, 2006 Tex. App. -- Houston [1st Dist.] Feb. 9, 2006).

01/16/06   Link to the CPS and DFPS Licensing Handbooks Here

Now you can link directly to the Department of Family and Protective Services ("DFPS") Child Protective Services (CPS) Handbook and the DFPS Licensing and Policy and Procedures Handbook. Once you select either handbook, choose an item in the left column of the page which appears in order to view the selected section of the handbook. A scroll bar will not appear until you make that selection. Click here to link to the CPS and Licensing Handbooks.

12/28/05   AG Says New Law Requiring Allocation of Divorce Filing Fees to Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Fund Is Unconstitutional

In an opinion issued Dec. 28, 2005, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said that a newly-enacted provision of the Government Code, section 51.961(g), violates Article I, section 13 of the Texas Constitution, known as the "open courts provision." The constitution states that "all courts shall be open," which has been interpreted to mean that fees for filing lawsuits may only go directly to court-related expenses for support of the judiciary. Section 51.961(g) requires half of the filing fee for divorce cases to be allocated to the state's child abuse and neglect prevention trust fund account. The Department of Family and Protective Services may draw on that fund for prevention programs and administrative costs, neither of which qualifies as court-related expenses for support for the judiciary. Accordingly, the Attorney General concluded that section 51.961(g) places an unconstitutional burden on a litigant's access to the courts. Click here to see the full text of the opinion.

11/14/05   Internationally Acclaimed Evidence Expert, John E.B. Myers, Will Take Calls from TLC Site Users at No Charge

John E.B. Myers, Professor of Law at McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific in Sacramento, California, is willing to take calls from TLC's registered judges and attorneys regarding evidence questions arising in child abuse cases. He will not charge a fee to discuss evidence questions by phone. Professor Myers is the author of several books on evidence and on child abuse and has been cited as an authority in numerous court opinions. TLC greatly appreciates his generous offer. Click here for contact information.

10/11/05   ABA Center on Children and the Law Will Present Free CLE on Substance Abuse at SMU

On November 4, 2005, the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law will present "Relapse to Recovery: Making Home Safe for Children" in Dallas. Sponsored by the W.W. Caruth, Jr. Child Advocacy Clinic at SMU Dedman School of Law, this CLE program on substance abuse is free to the first 100 registrants. Click here for more details about this conference. Click here to see TLC's list of upcoming local, regional, and national conferences.

07/22/05   Can't Find What You Need on the TLC Website? Request a Resource — We Can Help!

Do you need information on a topic not yet in the TLC database or more extensive information on a topic already here? TLC is now accepting requests for resources and/or research on topics of benefit to practitioners in the child abuse field. For example, based on site users' requests, we are currently compiling information on Osteogenesis Imperfecta, "brittle bone disease," and working to expand our case summaries on hearsay statements of a child. To submit a request, simply click on "Resources" on the blue menu bar above; then click on "Request a Resource," or email TLC at (Please note that TLC cannot accept requests asking how the law applies to your particular case, and we may not be able to honor all requests.)

07/22/05   Sampson & Tindall's Legislative Update Is Available Here

Once again, John Sampson & Harry Tindall have graciously provided TLC with their compilation of the latest updates from the legislative session. Click here to view Sampson and Tindall's Leglslative Update, containing changes in the Family Code from the 79th Legislative Session. To find a particular code section or specific words within the document, click on the binoculars on the menu bar. A search box will appear. You can enter keywords or Family Code section numbers in the search box.

06/27/05   U.S. Supreme Court Rules on Enforcement of Protective Orders in Colorado

In a 7-2 opinion, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the mother of three murdered children could not sue a municipal police department for failure to enforce a restraining order against her ex-husband. Reversing the Tenth Circuit, the Court said that Colorado law does not create a mandatory duty on police to seek out and arrest a person who violates a restraining order. Furthermore, the interest held by the mother in enforcement of the order is not a "property interest" protected by the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause. The Court left open the possibility that a state could craft a law making it mandatory that police arrest violators. Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales, 162 L.Ed. 2d 658, 125 S.Ct. 2796, 2005 U.S. LEXIS 5214 (U.S. 2005). Click here for commentary by the Family Violence Prevention Fund.

06/15/05   Colleague Connection for Attorneys Has GROWN!

TLC is pleased to announce that attorneys across the state have joined the Colleague Connection-Attorney email list. It's a free, optional service only for TLC site users, allowing registered attorneys to seek input from other attorneys across Texas regarding case strategies and practice tips. Click here to read more about Colleague Connection-Attorney. (Colleague Connection for Judges is presently in development.)

06/01/05   TLC Helps Other States Create Websites and Takes First Steps Toward Building a National Network of Resource Centers

After seeing the TLC website demonstrated at various national conferences, other states are actively preparing to work with TLC in creating similar sites for their state's child advocacy professionals. Howard Davidson, Director of the ABA's Center on Children and the Law, shares TLC's vision of a national network of online resource centers, each addressing the unique needs of its child advocacy community, yet based on the strengths of the TLC site's functionality. Click here to read comments circulated nationally by Mr. Davidson about the TLC website. If your state might be interested in creating a site for your child advocacy community based on the TLC site, please contact us at 800-993-5TLC (5852) or email

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