Recent News


08/06/20   Texas Supreme Court Extends Pandemic Emergency Orders on Termination Trial Dismissal Dates and Jury Trials

On Aug. 6, 2020, the Supreme Court of Texas issued its twenty-second order regarding conduct of state court proceedings during the coronavirus pandemic. It allows courts to continue to extend dismissal dates in parental rights termination cases and renews previous orders allowing remote proceedings and other accommodations for court participants. It also forbids jury trials before Oct. 1, 2020, with an exception for a limited number to be convened pursuant to a study being conducted. The previous order concerning no change to visitation and adherence to relevant school schedules was also renewed, despite schools not being open. The order also allows attorney disciplinary action matters to be held remotely. To read the order, click here. You can also find the order from the Texas Lawyers for Children home page ( by going to Resources, Browse by Topic and choosing Coronavirus or Remote Hearings, then Articles & Papers.


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08/06/20 TX Supreme Court extends pandemic order
08/01/20 ABA resolutions target harms to children
07/22/20 Children's Bureau Issues Guidance on Funds
06/29/20 NAWL Virtual Conference on July 15 & 16
06/16/20 Monitors Issue Report in Class Action
04/24/20 Free Stress Management Webinar Offered
04/08/20 Find Coronavirus Legal Resources
04/07/20 Carrington Coleman Explains Fed Loans
03/31/20 Webinar on Child Welfare in Pandemic - 4/2
02/21/20 Call for Nominations - Deadline Mar. 4
02/12/20 Scholarships to Adv. Child Protection Law
01/30/20 Adv. Child Protection Law Course - 3/26-27
01/10/20 Free Webinar on Family First Act - 1/14/20
12/15/19 KS Newspaper Finds Disturbing Outcomes
12/13/19 Journalists Investigate CAPTA Compliance
08/28/19 Education Ideas for Foster Children
05/15/19 Atty Training Scholarship Deadline-5/17
05/13/19 15 hours of FREE Trauma CLE & CJE
03/13/19 Early Bird Deadline for Adv. Course - 3/14
02/07/19 Adv. Child Protection Law Course- 3/28-29
01/07/19 Federal Funding for Attorneys in CPS Cases
10/18/18 5th Circuit Rules in M.D. v. Abbott
09/27/18 Paper - Constitutional Rights of Children
08/06/18 Key Hearing-Children's Mental Health
06/20/18 Child Protection Law CLE Video Replays
05/29/18 Children's Rights Summit - Houston
05/16/18 Key Hearing-Children's Mental Health- 5/17
05/04/18 Judicial Conference Scholarships- Due 6/6
05/04/18 Attorney Conference Scholarships- Due 6/6
04/27/18 Child Welfare Law Specialization - May 7
04/09/18 Update on Federal Class Action Appeal
03/22/18 Free Trial Skills Training - Deadline 4/11
03/20/18 Legal Representation Survey - Judges
03/13/18 Legal Representation Survey - Attorneys
02/15/18 Oral Argument in Federal Class Action Suit
02/01/18 Justice Lehrmann's Statement—New Section
01/31/18 Judge Orders Hank Whitman to Appear
01/31/18 Child Protection Law Section CLE 4/19-20
01/19/18 Final Order Entered in Class Action
12/15/17 TLC Files Amicus Brief in Class Action
12/04/17 Special Masters File Implementation Plan
09/21/17 MCLE Webcasts on Trial Skills Rescheduled
09/20/17 Important Trauma Training - Deadline 9/25
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
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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

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.

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

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.

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