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04/27/18   Deadline to Apply for Exam for TBLS Board Certification Is May 7
 

The deadline to apply to take the examination for board certification in Child Welfare Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization is May 7, 2018. The exam will be administered in October 2018. To view the standards and other information about getting certified click here. To access the online application click here.

 

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05/29/18 Children's Rights Summit - Houston 6/12
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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05/29/18   Baker McKenzie Hosts Inaugural Children's Rights Summit in Houston on June 12
 

Baker McKenzie is hosting the Inaugural Texas Children's Rights Summit in Houston on June 12, 2018. The Summit is intended to discuss the legal needs of children and features numerous leaders in the field of children's rights. Topics include the impact of trauma, immigration issues, education issues, pro bono practice, and the ethics of child representation. Attorneys from in-house counsel's offices of major corporations will be attending as well, and child advocacy organizations will have the opportunity to ask for pro bono help for special child advocacy projects from these attorneys during an interactive session. Registration is FREE!! To view the agenda, click here. To register, click here.

05/16/18   House Public Health Committee Will Conduct Hearing on Children's Mental Health Issues on May 17
 

The House Public Health Committee will conduct a hearing on Thursday, May 17, at 10:00 am in Room E2.012, concerning children's mental health issues. The hearing will focus on the interim charge that includes "identifying and treating children with mental illness, including the application of trauma-[informed] and grief-informed practices" and identifying "strategies to assist in understanding the impact and recognizing the signs of trauma in children." To view the hearing notice with complete interim charge, click here. To view the hearing live, click here. To view a video recording of the hearing after it has ended, click here.

05/04/18   Supreme Court Children's Commission Is Providing Judicial Conference Scholarships - Deadlines 11:59 pm May 23 & June 6
 

Scholarships are available through the Supreme Court Children's Commission for judges to attend both the 81st Annual Conference of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the National Association of Counsel for Children's (NACC) 41st National Child Welfare, Juvenile & Family Law Conference, including the Red Book Training (optional). The application deadline for the NCJFCJ scholarship is 11:59 pm on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, and for the NACC conference, the deadline is 11:59 pm on Wednesday, June 6. The NCJFCJ's 81st Annual Conference is July 22-25, 2018, in Denver, Colorado. The Texas Center for the Judiciary is partnering with the Children's Commission to provide 25 judicial scholarships for this conference. This scholarship covers up to $2,000, including the registration fee and travel expenses. To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must hear civil child welfare and/or juvenile cases and must attend the Texas Center for the Judiciary's Annual Child Welfare Judicial Conference, to be held November 12-14, 2018, in Georgetown, Texas. For questions regarding the NCJFCJ scholarship, please email Heidi Penix at heidip@yourhonor.com.To apply for the NCJFCJ scholarship, click here. This year's NACC Conference is August 23-25, 2018, in San Antonio, including a pre-conference Red Book Training on August 22nd. The Children's Commission will provide scholarships up to $1000 in the form of waived registration fees and conference-related travel expenses. To be eligible for this scholarship, applicants must hear civil child welfare and/or juvenile cases and must complete a post-conference survey from the Children's Commission. For questions regarding the NACC scholarship, please email children@txcourts.gov. To apply for the NACC scholarship, click here. To learn more about both scholarships, visit the Children's Commission website by clicking here.

05/04/18   Supreme Court Children's Commission Is Providing Attorney Conference Scholarships - Deadline 11:59 pm June 6
 

Scholarships are available through the Supreme Court Children's Commission for attorneys to attend both the one-day Child Abuse and Neglect Track at the State Bar's 2018 Advanced Family Law Course and to the National Association of Counsel for Children's 41st National Child Welfare, Juvenile & Family Law Conference and preconference Red Book Training (optional). Deadline to apply is 11:59 pm on Wednesday, June 6, 2018. The State Bar's Child Abuse and Neglect One-Day Track will be held on August 15, 2018, live in San Antonio, with video replays in Dallas on September 28, 2018; in Houston on October 5, 2018; and in South Padre on October 12, 2018. The scholarship covers the cost of registration for qualifying attorneys and is limited to those who are attending only the one-day Child Abuse and Neglect Track and not the full 2018 Advanced Family Law Course. To complete the scholarship application, click here. The NACC Conference is August 23-25, 2018, in San Antonio, and the pre-conference Red Book Training will be conducted on August 22, 2018. The Children's Commission will provide $1000 scholarships to 100 qualified attorneys in the form of waived registration fees and conference-related travel expenses. To meet the criteria for a scholarship, the applicant must currently represent DFPS or take appointments on the CPS docket, be in good standing with the State Bar of Texas and with their appointing or presiding judge, and commit to completing a post-event survey. Additionally, the Commission will contact the attorney's presiding or appointing judge to determine whether the judge supports the attorney's application. To complete the NACC Conference scholarship application, click here. For more information about these scholarships and their requirements, please visit the Children's Commission website by clicking here. For questions regarding these scholarships, email children@txcourts.gov.

04/09/18   Briefs Filed in Appeal of District Court's Order in Federal Class Action on Behalf of Texas Foster Children
 

Briefs have been filed in the appeal of the District Court's Order to the Fifth Circuit by the State leaders who are the defendants in M.D. v. Abbott, the federal class action suit brought on behalf of Texas foster children. On March 12, 2018, the defendants/appellants filed their brief, and the plaintiffs responded on April 2, 2018. On April 9, 2018, amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs were filed by three advocacy organizations -- the National Association of Counsel for Children, Disability Rights Texas, and the National Association of Social Workers and its Texas Chapter. Oral argument was held in the Fifth Circuit on April 30, 2018. To hear an audio recording of the hearing, click here. To view the defendants' brief, click here; and for the plaintiffs' brief click here. For the brief of the National Association of Social Workers and its Texas Chapter, click here, and for that of Disability Rights Texas, click here, and for the brief filed by the National Association of Counsel for Children, click here.

03/22/18   Supreme Court Children's Commission Providing Free Trial Skills Training for Attorneys in CPS Cases - Application Deadline April 11, 2018
 

The Supreme Court Children's Commission is providing free, hands-on trial skills training for less experienced attorneys handling Child Protective Services cases in Texas who want to improve their litigation skills. A fictional CPS case and live witnesses are partnered with top-notch instructors to coach attendees through all stages of trial. For purposes of the training, "less experienced" means that prior to applying, applicants who take court appointments will have completed an average of 2 to 3 contested Adversary Hearings and/or final termination trials as first chair, and applicants who represent DFPS will have completed at least 3 contested Adversary Hearings and/or 3-5 final termination trials as first chair. The course is being conducted in San Marcos, Texas on July 25-27th, 2018. Hotel costs will be reimbursed for those living outside of San Marcos. Space is limited to 21 attorneys who represent children, parents, or DFPS on the CPS docket. Registration is free. The Children's Commission will contact each applicant's appointing judge to confirm suitability for the training. Attorneys will be notified about acceptance into the training by May 1, 2018. The deadline to apply is 11:59 pm on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. For more information and to submit an application, click here.

03/20/18   Supreme Court Children's Commission Seeks Input from Judges for Legal Representation Study
 

The Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission is conducting a study of the legal representation provided to children and parents in child protection cases. The goal of the study is to capture the most accurate picture possible of how this legal representation is currently functioning and how it might be improved. To meet this goal, the study will survey key stakeholders, with different surveys for the different roles served in the child welfare system, including judges. The Commission will deliver a report of the study's findings to the Texas Legislature in September 2018. The survey will remain open until 11:59 pm on Friday, April 6, 2018. To learn more about the Legal Representation Study, click here. To access the survey, click here.

03/13/18   Supreme Court Children's Commission Seeks Input from Attorneys for Legal Representation Study
 

The Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission is conducting a study of the legal representation provided to children and parents in child protection cases. The goal of the study is to capture the most accurate picture possible of how this legal representation is currently functioning and how it might be improved. To meet this goal, the study will survey key stakeholders, with different surveys for the different roles served in the child welfare system, including attorneys. The Commission will deliver a report of the study's findings to the Texas Legislature in September 2018. The survey will remain open until 11:59 pm on Friday, March 30, 2018. To learn more about the Legal Representation Study, click here. To access the survey, click here.

02/15/18   Fifth Circuit Conducts Oral Argument on Whether to Stay Judge Jack's Order in Federal Class Action Suit on Behalf of Texas Foster Children
 

Oral argument in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals began at 2:00 p.m. on February 15, 2018, in M.D. v. Abbott, the federal class action suit on behalf of Texas foster children, concerning the State's motion to stay Judge Jack's Order that was entered on January 19, 2018. The Fifth Circuit granted a temporary stay to allow the parties time to brief the issue and appear at the oral argument. The Court is deciding whether the stay should be lifted now or continue until the State's appeal of Judge Jack's Order reaches a final conclusion. To hear an audio recording of the hearing, click here.

02/01/18   Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann Comments on New Child Protection Law Section
 

Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann has written a very compelling statement about the importance of the new SBOT Child Protection Law Section and the need to protect the rights of children. Justice Lehrmann is serving as the Chair of the new section. TLC believes that under Justice Lehrmann's outstanding leadership, the new section will elevate the practice of law in this field. To view Justice Lehrmann's powerful comments, click here. Also, don't miss the chance to become an inaugural member of the new Child Protection Law Section!! Your $20 dues will help the new section accomplish its mission to educate and empower the attorneys who are committed to representing our most vulnerable and important members of society. You can join through your SBOT "My Bar Page".

01/31/18   Judge Orders DFPS Commissioner Hank Whitman to Appear in Court to Explain Situation with Foster Youth Runaway
 

According to the Austin American Statesman, Judge Paul Rotenberry of Abilene has ordered DFPS Commissioner Hank Whitman to appear in court on Wed., Jan. 31, 2018, to explain how it is that a 14-year old foster youth has repeatedly run away from foster care. Citing court documents, the Statesman reported that Judge Rotenberry wants Commissioner Whitman to explain why CPS has been unable to "provide care, control, and protection" for this girl, who has run away 5 times since April, when she was still 13. To view the news article, click here.

01/31/18   New Child Protection Law Section to Conduct First Annual Advanced Course and Section Meeting on April 19-20
 

The new Child Protection Law Section of the State Bar of Texas will be hosting its First Annual Advanced Course and Section Meeting in Austin on April 19-20, 2018. This unique experience will allow registrants to participate in a full day of CLE, a tour of the Supreme Court of Texas, and much more! To register, click here. For more details, click here.

01/19/18   Federal Court Enters Final Order in Class Action Suit on Behalf of Texas Foster Children
 

On January 19, 2018, Hon. Janis Graham Jack issued the Final Order in the federal class action suit on behalf of Texas foster children. The order requires DFPS to change numerous policies and procedures. The order also requires that, effective immediately, DFPS must seek appointment of an attorney ad litem for every child in the PMC of the State who does not have one and, within 30 days, must submit a plan for how these attorneys will be reimbursed for their time. If a plan is not timely submitted, DFPS must reimburse the attorneys. To view the order, click here.

12/15/17   TLC Files Amicus Brief in Federal Class Action Suit on Behalf of Texas Foster Children
 

On December 15, 2017, Texas Lawyers for Children (TLC) filed an amicus brief in the federal class action suit on behalf of Texas foster children. The brief focuses on the issue of the harm that foster children experience when the mental health professionals who diagnose, treat, and/or prescribe medication for them do not have adequate training on the impact of trauma on children. Since the symptoms of trauma are similar to those for certain mental disorders, including bipolar disorder, ADHD, and oppositional defiant disorder, there is an unreasonable risk of harm that foster children will be misdiagnosed and receive inappropriate treatment or unnecessary psychotropic medication. TLC urged the court to order that DFPS be prohibited from continuing to contract with inadequately trained mental health professionals. To view TLC's brief, click here.

12/04/17   Special Masters in Federal Class Action Suit on Behalf of Foster Children Have Filed an Implementation Plan
 

On December 4, 2017, the Special Masters in M.D. v. Abbott, the federal class action suit on behalf of Texas foster children, filed an Implementation Plan for the purpose of reforming the Texas foster care system. The stated goal of the plan is "to provide children in the Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC) of Texas with the minimum standards of personal security and safe living conditions so that they are free from unreasonable risk of harm, both physical and emotional." The Plan details numerous changes to be made. To view a Dallas Morning News article which summarizes highlights of the Plan, click here. To view the actual Implementation Plan, click here.

09/21/17   Supreme Court Children's Commission Providing Two Webcasts on Trial Skills on October 3rd
 

On October 3, 2017, in partnership with the Texas State Bar, the Supreme Court Children's Commission is presenting two live webcasts on basic and advanced trial skills in CPS cases, for a total of 6 hours of MCLE credit, including .75 hours of ethics. The morning course is called "Preparing Your CPS Case for Trial: Position Yourself to Win," and the afternoon course is "Basic and Advanced Trial Skills in CPS Litigation: Persuade and Prevail." Discounts and partial scholarships are available. Scholarships are available until a year after the broadcast date, so you can still use a scholarship even if you can't watch the programs on October 3. To learn about the discounts and scholarships and to register for the webcasts, click here.

09/20/17   The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development and the Travis County Collaborative for Children Are Presenting an Important Training on Trauma on October 3
 

On October 3, 2017, you can attend a very important training on the impact of trauma on children and ways to promote healing for the child. The Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU and the Travis County Collaborative for Children will present the TBRI Overview from 8:30 am - 4:00 pm at the Holiday Inn Midtown in the Hill Country Ballroom in Austin. Cost is $25. Deadline to register is 5:00 pm on Monday, September 25, or sooner if space is full. TBRI, which is Trust-Based Relational Intervention, is a comprehensive set of methods for interacting with traumatized children that promotes their healing rather than retraumatization. To register for this program, click here.

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.

09/01/17   TLC's Pro Bono Network Now Includes Options to Receive or Provide Hurricane Help
 

At TLC, our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey. TLC's Online Center can be used to connect those of you who would like to help the Houston area judges, attorneys, and the children in their cases with your colleagues needing help. The Pro Bono network now includes options for you to provide Hurricane Help by volunteering to visit a foster child who has been relocated to another area (you may need to be appointed as co-counsel to the child's ad litem), assisting with a case, providing housing or office space, or providing electronic equipment or clothing. To volunteer to provide Hurricane Help click on "Pro Bono" on the red menu bar at the top and select "Volunteer for Pro Bono Network". Complete the volunteer form and select the applicable "Hurricane Help" areas of assistance. You can also select other general areas to provide pro bono help. Under "Levels of Involvement" be sure to select "Hurricane Help". If you choose to assist in other areas in addition to Hurricane Help, you can also select other "Levels of Involvement". Please note - your name and information will not be visible to the public, only to other judges and attorneys who are registered for TLC's Online Center. To receive Hurricane Help click here. Scroll down to the list of areas of assistance, and click on the type of "Hurricane Help" you are seeking to see a list of available volunteers. Thank you to all of you who generously decide to help your colleagues and the children in their cases. For those trying to find help for the children in your cases and to recover from the havoc wreaked in your lives, we hope TLC's Online Center serves as a way to spread the TLC of your colleagues throughout the Houston area.

08/28/17   Texas Supreme Court Issues Emergency Order Affecting Child Protection Cases
 

On August 28, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court issued an Emergency Order Affecting Child Protection Cases. The Order suspends the deadlines of Section 263.401 of the Texas Family Code "if the court finds that disasterous conditions from Hurricane Harvey precluded compliance." To view the Order, click here.

08/24/17   Supreme Court Children's Commission Providing Two Webcasts on Trial Skills on August 29th
 

THIS EVENT IS POSTPONED. On August 29, 2017, in partnership with the Texas State Bar, the Supreme Court Children's Commission is presenting two live webcasts on basic and advanced trial skills in CPS cases, for a total of 6 hours of MCLE credit, including .75 hours of ethics. The morning course is called "Preparing Your CPS Case for Trial: Position Yourself to Win," and the afternoon course is "Basic and Advanced Trial Skills in CPS Litigation: Persuade and Prevail". Discounts and partial scholarships are available. To learn about the discounts and scholarships and to register for the webcasts, click here.

08/01/17   Help Start a Child Protection Law Section of State Bar
 

A Development Committee, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann, is working toward starting a Child Protection Law Section of the State Bar. The State Bar has a Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, but there is no section serving this important area of the law. Those working toward this goal believe that forming a State Bar section is an important step in advancing this area of practice. We are extremely grateful to Justice Lehrmann for taking time to lead this important effort. To begin the process, we must receive a minimum of 200 signatures on a petition to be submitted to the Bar. Signing the petition indicates that you are in favor of starting this section and that you are willing to join the section and pay the dues of $20. If you would like to help start this section, please sign the petition and fax it to 915-771-0271. Many thanks to El Paso attorney Mark Briggs for being willing to receive the faxed petitions. If you have any trouble with the faxing process, Mark's office phone is 915-779-0039. To access the petition, click here.

07/21/17   See Legislative Update by Supreme Court Children's Commission & Webcast on CPS Legislative Changes on July 24
 

The Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission has done a very thorough legislative update of statutory changes affecting child protection cases. We appreciate the Commission's generosity in sharing this update so we can make it available to judges and attorneys using TLC's Online Center. To view the Legislative Update from the 85th legislative session, click here. Also, the Children's Commission is conducting a Webcast with CLE credit from 1:30-3:00 pm on Monday, July 24, 2017, regarding key legislative changes. Scholarships and discounts are available for this Webcast. To learn about the discounts and scholarships and to register for the Webcast, click here.

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.

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

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

04/14/17   The State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Seeks Nominations for Its Annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families
 

The State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect is seeking nominations for its annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families. The award is named after Ms. Rutland in recognition of her exceptional leadership as a founding member and chair of the Committee for over 20 years and her continuing dedication and many ongoing contributions to the field of child welfare. The award honors an attorney who has made a substantial contribution to the field of advocacy for abused and neglected children. The deadline for nominations is May 1, 2017. The award recipient will be announced at the Advanced Family Law Conference in August. To view the nomination form, click here.

04/06/17   House Human Services Committee Is Conducting a Hearing Regarding Continuation of the AAL Appointment on April 10
 

The House Human Services Committee is conducting a hearing in Room E2.030 at 8:00 am on Monday, April 10, 2017, on HB 3109. This bill continues the appointment of an attorney ad litem for a child for as long as the child is in the managing conservatorship of the Department. TLC believes that it is critical that these foster children have representation in order not to fall through the cracks. This bill implements the finding in Judge Jack's Jan. 9, 2017 Interim Order (posted in the Recent News section on Jan. 9) that children in the PMC of the State have a constitutional right to an attorney. To view the hearing notice, click here. To view the committee substitute for HB 3109, click here.

03/23/17   House Human Services Committee Is Conducting a Hearing on 2 CPS Reform Bills on March 27
 

The Texas House Human Services Committee is conducting a key hearing on 2 CPS Reform bills starting at 8:30 am on Monday, March 27, 2017. HB 1542 addresses the definition of "least restrictive environment", and HB 2335 addresses trauma training for caseworkers and certain caregivers. HB 1542 defines "least restrictive environment" as, among other things, the one "closest in proximity to the child's home." It also says that for Basic and Moderate level children, the least restrictive environment is either a foster home or cottage home and puts cottage homes on par with foster homes. As written, the bill could be read to require that a child be placed in a cottage home rather than with a relative or rather than in a foster home because the cottage home is closer to the child's original home. HB 2335 requires that caseworkers and certain caregivers receive training in trauma-based care. TLC believes that no matter what we fix in the CPS system, if we don't require those who have direct contact with or make decisions on behalf of abused or neglected children to have training regarding the impact of trauma on children, then we will continue to send these vulnerable children into the downward spiral we see so often, which is caused by: erroneously labeling and treating a child's trauma-driven behavior as "willful disobedience" rather than a condition needing healing, which can make the child's behavior worse; misdiagnosing trauma symptoms as mental disorders and resorting to multiple psychotropic drugs, which can make the child's behavior worse or reduce the child to a zombie and also cause harmful side effects; as the child's behavior worsens because trauma-focused treatment is not being provided, the child is repeatedly kicked from foster home to foster home, further traumatizing the child and leading to a downward spiral of more psychotropic drugs, relationship loss, and placement instability, all making the child's behavior and condition worse, including delinquent conduct and crossover into the juvenile justice system, where the child is treated as a criminal rather than a child needing healing; and the child's behavior and condition continue to get worse, harming the child's chance for healthy relationships and a productive life. To view the hearing notice, click here. To view HB 1542, click here, and for HB 2335, click here.

03/17/17   House Human Services Committee Is Conducting a Hearing on 3 CPS Reform Bills on March 20, 2017
 

The Texas House Human Services Committee is conducting a hearing on 3 CPS reform bills on March 20, 2017, at 8:30 am. The hearing concerns the bills listed below. If you want to express your views on these issues, email or call the 9 members of the committee. HB 7 makes several changes concerning child protection suits filed by DFPS. HB 39 makes several changes concerning the functions of DFPS. HB 1549 is an omnibus bill of numerous reforms. To view the hearing notice, click here. To view HB 7, click here, and for HB 39, click here, and for HB 1549, click here. To view an analysis of HB 1549 graciously provided by TexProtects, click here. To watch the video of the hearing, click here.

03/08/17   Contact the Texas House Human Services Committee to Have Input on CPS Reform
 

The House Human Services Committee is currently considering HB 6, which is the primary CPS reform bill in the House. The bill is currently undergoing amendments and could be voted out of the Committee any day without another public hearing. If you would like to provide input on this bill, call and/or email the members of the Committee. For a list of Committee members and contact information, please click here.


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