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.)
09/11/07   Texas Supreme Court to Consider Public Comments on New Judicial Commission for Children and Families
 

On Tuesday, September 25, 2007, the Supreme Court of Texas will convene a hearing for public comment on a proposal to create a permanent judicial commission for children and families. A consultative group proposed the commission and outlined its creation, duties, and management in a report dated March 1, 2007. To view the report, click here. The commission would be charged with implementing a comprehensive program to improve courts that hear cases regarding children and families. Child protection cases require multidisciplinary collaboration, and attorneys and judges need supplementary training in areas such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness. Announcing the hearing, Supreme Court Justice Harriet O'Neill said, "As gatekeepers for families in crisis, courts play a critical role in ensuring these children's safety, well-being, and seeing that they find permanent homes....Clearly, courts have a profound impact -- and the stakes are exceedingly high." To testify or to submit written comments, register online by clicking here.

08/24/07   Prof. John Sampson's Legislative Update Is Now Available Here
 

Once again, Prof. John Sampson has graciously provided TLC with his compilation of the latest updates from the recent legislative session. Click here to view Prof. Sampson's legislative update, containing changes to the Family Code from the 80th Legislative Session. To find a particular code section or specific words within the document, click on "Edit" on the menu bar, and select "Find" in the drop down menu. A search box will appear. You can enter keywords or Family Code section numbers in the search box. This paper also contains links to various bills. To return to the paper after viewing a bill, click on your "Back" button. You can also view TLC's summary of key provisions of the new legislation by clicking here.

08/13/07   TLC Thanks Hon. Gil Jones for Serving as Moderator of Colleague Connection — Judicial
 

TLC is very grateful to Hon. Gil Jones, Judge of the 33rd District Court, for generously giving his time to serve as moderator of the secure judicial email network known as Colleague Connection -- Judicial. Judges, if you haven't registered for Colleague Connection -- Judicial yet, now is a great time to do so. Colleague Connection -- Judicial is a secure, private email network available only to Texas judges. It facilitates judicial users' joining forces with one other to use the power of collaboration and mentoring. Users gain quick access to colleagues statewide to share ideas, strategies, and experiences. With 254 counties, Texas judges are often geographically isolated from peers who might otherwise be available for networking, sharing of ideas, and problem-solving. Being part of Colleague Connection -- Judicial brings peers and colleagues as close as your keyboard. Just sign in to the TLC website and click on Colleague Connection on the blue menu bar at the top of the page.

08/09/07   State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Names Carole Hurley 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 Carole Hurley 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 contributions to the field of child welfare. Sandra Hachem, Chair of the Committee, presented the award to Ms. Hurley at the Advanced Family Law Conference. Ms. Rutland had personally nominated Ms. Hurley, detailing her many years of outstanding service as the Director of the Texas Court Improvement Program ("CIP") and the Texas Children's Justice Act Project ("CJA"), her accomplishments in representing children and parents in private practice, her role as a foster and adoptive parent of children in CPS' care, and her work as a presenter, course director, facilitator, and faculty member at national child welfare conferences and bar meetings. During Ms. Hurley's tenure as Director of CIP and CJA, the projects undertaken by both grant programs positively impacted the handling of child abuse and neglect cases across Texas and received national recognition. To read Ms. Rutland's nomination letter outlining Ms. Hurley's many achievements, click here. To view a picture from the award ceremony, click here. Pictured (from left to right) are Fairy Rutland, Kara Hurley, Emma Hurley, Carole Hurley, and Sandra Hachem.

07/17/07   TLC's Legislative Update Summarizes Highlights of SB 758 and Other Bills of Interest to Child Abuse Practitioners
 

The 80th legislative session ushered in 375 changes to the Texas Family Code, including 282 amendments to Title 5 alone. The largest bill affecting child abuse and neglect was Senate Bill 758. TLC has summarized key provisions of this significant legislation, as well as other bills of interest to child abuse practitioners. Click here to view TLC's summary.

06/19/07   SB 758 Repeals Privatization of CPS Case Management Services
 

Senate Bill 758 repeals the requirement to privatize CPS case management services mandated by last session's SB 6 with the exception of a small pilot program. The bill has been signed into law by Governor Rick Perry. SB 6, which was codified in 264.106 of the Texas Family Code, required the Department of Family and Protective Services (the "Department") to contract with private agencies for the provision of all necessary substitute care and case management services or use an "independent administrator" to contract for these services by September 1, 2011. SB 758 completely repeals the requirement to contract with private agencies for case management services. A new definition, "conservatorship services," has been added, making it clear that the Department provides those services, which include placement of children, approval of case plans, and "any other action the Department considers necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of a child." Click here to see the full text of the bill. To find a particular section or specific words within the document, click on "Edit" on the menu bar of your internet browser. In the drop-down menu which appears, click on "Find (on This Page)". You can enter keywords or Family Code section numbers in the window that appears..

05/31/07   TLC Launches Exciting New Communication Tool for Judges!
 

TLC is pleased to announce that judges across the state can now register to participate in TLC's Colleague Connection -- Judicial email network. This free, optional service for TLC's site users is available exclusively to judges, allowing them to seek input from and share ideas with other judges across the state. TLC has designed this service to carefully limit its access to only active Texas judges and will verify the identity of all participants as they register. We hope that Colleague Connection -- Judicial proves as valuable to the judicial community as Colleague Connection -- Attorneys has proven to be for the attorney community. Click here to learn more about Colleague Connection -- Judicial.

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 TexasLawyersforChildren@yahoo.com.

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, www.texasyouthconnection.org. 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.


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