Recent News


01/20/21   Federal District Judge Holds State in Contempt of Court Again in Class Action Suit on Behalf of Foster Children

On December 18, 2020, the federal district court in M.D. v. Abbott issued an Order of Contempt, finding that the State has violated certain provisions of the court's remedial order and has continued to subject the children in the permanent managing conservatorship of the State to an unreasonable risk of serious harm. The violations include failures to timely investigate abuse and neglect allegations for children in foster care, lack of communication between HHSC and DFPS and within DFPS that hindered efforts to ensure child safety, erroneously ruling out abuse/neglect allegations, and allowing facilities to remain open that had been deemed unsafe for children in foster care. To read the lengthy December 18 Order, which the judge stated she wrote because "the children deserve nothing less," click here. To read a Dallas Morning News article summarizing the Order, click here. For many of the violations, the district judge did not apply sanctions, but required the State to submit a Certification of Compliance within 30 days of the Order and decided that any sanctions would be decided at a later hearing, set for May 5, 2021. For Remedial Order #22 ("Failure to implement a credible system for considering a licensed provider's history as to allegations of abuse and neglect"), the court required a Certificate of Compliance (with accompanying documentation) within 15 days, or sanctions of $75,0000/day would be applied. This Certification was filed on December 31, 2021. Governor Abbott has instructed the Commissioners of HHSC and DFPS to comply with the court's orders. As previously discussed, the Court Monitors issued their Report in June 2020 and concluded that "Texas's overdue, incomplete, and at times, incompetent investigations of child abuse or neglect betray the State's special relationship with, and responsibility to children, placing them at risk of future harm by perpetrators whose maltreatment of children goes unchecked.  . .  . . .The problem is systemic and enduring . . . as children's safety hangs in the balance." Id. To view the complete report, please see the Recent News item dated June 16, 2020.


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11/11/21 Coloring Book to Explain Attorney's Role
09/15/21 Update on M.D. v. Abbott & Capacity Crisis
06/29/21 Summer Scholarships - Apply by July 2
03/19/21 New foster youth benefits will expire soon
03/05/21 In-person court proceedings return
01/20/21 State Held in Contempt in Class Action
12/02/20 Learn about foster care to prison pipeline
10/20/20 Important new resources available
08/31/20 Children's Commission Tool Kit
08/27/20 Trauma Training webinars coming
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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11/11/21   Children's Commission Has Created a Coloring Book to Explain the Attorney's Role

The Supreme Court Children's Commission Legal Representation Committee created a coloring book designed to help children ages 6-12 understand the role of an attorney ad litem for a child and the attorney-client relationship. The coloring book, Sam and the Search for Spots - How Your Lawyer Can Help You, was developed by a work group which included law professors, board-certified child welfare law experts, and youth formerly in foster care. The goal of this publication is to facilitate discussion and understanding between children, caregivers, and attorneys about what differentiates an attorney from other people in the child's case and how the attorney can help the child client.This publication is available in two formats. For 8.5x11 Standard Print (for at home or office use), click here. For 12x18 Commercial Printer Spreads (for commercial printing), click here. For assistance or inquiries about this publication, please contact the Children's Commission at

09/15/21   Court Monitors Submit Report on Safety Concerns Regarding Children without Placements & Judge Jack Responds to Claim by DFPS that Her Orders Caused the Capacity Crisis

On September 13, 2021, the Court Monitors in M.D. v. Abbott filed their report on safety concerns regarding children without placement and the foster care capacity crisis. The Monitors summarized their findings by saying, "As detailed in this report, the Monitors found substantial risks to children's safety associated with Texas's decision to continue housing children in unregulated CWOP Settings, such as offices, unlicensed facilities and cottages, or in hotels and motels. The monitoring team's interviews with PMC children and supervising DFPS staff in CWOP Settings, as well as extensive reviews of State records, confirm that by housing children in these unregulated settings, Texas has assigned children to caregivers who are overburdened and not well-trained to ensure their safety, placing them at an unreasonable risk of serious harm." On September 14, 2021, Judge Jack conducted a hearing in which she responded to DFPS' claim that her orders created the capacity crisis. According to the Dallas Morning News, Judge Jack "ripped Texas for failing to police bad foster care providers and then blaming her orders for a subsequent bed shortage after she forced the state to act." To review the Court Monitors' Report, click here. To review the Dallas Morning News article, click here. To review other articles on safety concerns and the capacity crisis, click here and here.

06/29/21   Supreme Court Children's Commission Is Offering Scholarships to Summer 2021 Conferences - Deadline July 2

The Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission is offering judicial and attorney scholarships to two summer conferences in 2021. One scholarship is for the registration fee for the one-day Child Abuse and Neglect Track at the State Bar's Advanced Family Law Course, conducted by the Child Protection Law Section, live in San Antonio on August 4, 2021, or for one of the online replays in September and October. The other scholarship is for the registration fee for the virtual portion of the annual conference of the National Association of Counsel for Children on August 16-18, 2021. The deadline to apply for these scholarships is 11:59 pm on July 2, 2021. For further details and to access the application form, click here.

03/19/21   Urgent action required to access new benefits for foster and former foster youth clients under the Consolidated Appropriations Act

On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act became law, in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Significant provisions affect child welfare law, including extended benefits for foster youth and recently aged-out foster youth. Texas Lawyers for Children has added important new resources to our Online Resource Center to assist you in guiding your older youth foster care clients in gaining access to increased benefits and removal of restrictions for aging out youth. To access the resources, on the TLC home page go to Resources, Browse by Topic, Consolidated Appropriations Act. Benefits include: a moratorium on foster youth aging out of care until September 30, 2021; an opportunity for re-entry to foster care for youth who aged out since April 1, 2020, with no upper age limit; extended age limits for Education and Training Vouchers and increase in individual awards; lifting of education and employment restrictions on a youth to remain eligible for IV-E foster care funding; housing and driving education benefits; increased cash and services for foster youth housing, food, technology, and employment; and, the ability to apply for housing assistance before aging out and extension of housing vouchers. The explanatory documents in the Online Center include summaries of child welfare provisions in the act, tip sheets, and guidance memoranda from the Children's Bureau.

03/05/21   Texas Supreme Court allows in-person proceedings after conditions met

On March 5, 2021, the Texas Supreme Court issued its Thirty-sixth Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster. This order renews and amends the Court?s thirty-third emergency order issued in 2020. It allows Texas courts to conduct in-person jury and non-jury proceedings if the local administrative judge or municipal court presiding judge adopts minimum standard health protocols and an in-person proceeding schedule for all judges. A judge may conduct an in-person jury proceeding if five conditions are met, including: obtaining prior approval from the local administrative or presiding municipal judge; considering objections to the proceeding seven days prior; establishing protocols to ensure participants do not have COVID symptoms; including with the jury summons information on safety protocols and a COVID questionnaire; and, excusing jurors who confirm infection or exposure. Other provisions are in the order regarding visitation schedules and disciplinary proceedings. An advisory from the court precedes the order. To view the advisory and order, click here.

12/02/20   Texas Lawyers for Children offers one hour ethics credit for program on foster care to prison pipeline

Texas Lawyers for Children invites you to learn more about the foster care to prison pipeline. Join us from 11:45-1:00 on Friday, Dec. 11 for our upcoming "Champions for Children Ethics CLE." We will be honoring Laura Bauer and Judy L. Thomas, investigative reporters for the Kansas City Star and creators of the "Throwaway Kids" Video Series. You will have a chance to hear these reporters speak about their work investigating the foster care to prison pipeline. This CLE has been approved for one hour of Texas Ethics CLE credit. Thanks to a generous sponsor who wishes to support child advocates, we are able to offer a limited number of FREE CLE registrations on a first come, first served basis. Click here to register, and enter the code ALGEA2020 at checkout to receive your free CLE registration.

10/20/20   Texas Lawyers for Children adds educational resources to Online Resource Center

Texas Lawyers for Children recently added important new resources to its Online Resource Center. Browse any of the topics following these titles to read the new materials. Helping Children Participate in the Permanency Process by Christina Rainville, Bennington County Vermont State's Attorney Office: Child: Court Attendance; Trauma-Informed Judicial Practice; Evidence: Child Witness. Immigrant Crime Victim Access to Relief During the COVID-19 Crisis Under the CARES and FFCRA Acts, by Rafaela Rodrigues and Leslye E. Orloff, National Immigrant Women's Advocacy Project: Families First Coronavirus Response Act; Domestic Violence: Victims; Rights: Victim. Involving Children in Hearings: Judicial Bench Card, by ABA Permanency Barriers Children in Court Workgroup: Child: Courtroom Attendance. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA): Lessons From the Last Frontier, by Rachel Espejo, J.D. and Courtney Lewis, J.D., Alaska Public Defender Agency: Indian Child Welfare Act and Native Americans. When Attorneys Should Object to the Overuse of Psychiatric Medication in Foster Children by Martin Irwin, M.D. and Suchet Rao, M.D.: Psychotropic Drugs and Psychiatry: Child. Making the Agency's Witness Your Own: Cross Examining the Case Worker by Victoria Bleier and Eleanor Wilkinson: Cross-Examination; Trial: Preparation; and Caseworkers. Termination of Parental Rights & Adoption: Brave Conversations on Parental Loss and Holistic Advocacy by Heather Wilson: Childhood Traumatic Grief; Separation Trauma; Trauma-Informed Advocacy: Ad Litem; and Termination: Trauma to Child. Emergency Motion for an Order That Child Be Placed at Home by Cristina Freitas and Debbie Freitas: Coronavirus; Congregate Care: Placement; and Residential Care: Placement. Making Least Restrictive a Reality: Tools to Challenge Congregate Care Placements by Cristina Freitas and Debbie Freitas: Least Restrictive Setting: Placement; Racial Discrimination: Child Welfare; Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018; Records: School; and Trial: Preparation. Safeguarding the Rights of Parents With Intellectual Disabilities in Child Welfare Cases: The Convergence of Social Science and Law, by Robyn M. Powell: Americans with Disabilities Act; Mental Capacity: Termination; and Disabled Adults. Trauma: What Child Welfare Attorneys Should Know from National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Trauma-Informed Advocacy: Ad Litem; Trauma: Treatment; and Trauma: Assessment.

08/31/20   Children's Commission Tool Kit

The Children's Commission's Legal Representation Committee created a Tool Kit for Attorneys Representing Parents and Children in CPS Cases. The tool kit covers essential legal basics at a glance, including pleadings; motions; evidentiary issues; hearing checklists; and related federal law issues. The tool kit also covers concurrent and special issues related to CPS cases including child well-being; normalcy; dual status; incarceration; and trauma-informed advocacy. To view a free, downloadable PDF of the tool kit, click here.

08/27/20   Texas Lawyers for Children hosts three online trauma trainings for legal professionals this fall

Texas Lawyers for Children, the Child Protection Connection for Texas, will be hosting its free Legal Professional Trauma Training via webinar this fall. While we are disappointed that COVID-19 has limited our ability to conduct the remaining trauma training sessions live, we are glad to be able to offer the full training in a digital format.   We will conduct the Legal Professional Trauma Training via webinar on the following dates: September 16-18; September 30-October 2; and, October 14-16. Please note that the training starts at noon on Wednesday and runs all day on Thursday and Friday. We offer frequent breaks to allow training participants to take care of work and personal needs. The training is designed to be completed in its entirety, with each session building on the last. Because the sessions on Wednesday are foundational to all of the other learning, we kindly ask that you only register if you can attend from noon-4:00 on Wednesday afternoon.  The first portion of the course will include an overview of the impact trauma has on children and the effect responses have on children's recovery and case outcomes. The second portion will focus on how to advocate for children who have experienced trauma in our child welfare and juvenile justice systems and ways legal professionals can transform the system to one that is trauma-informed. Former foster youth will participate in the training to share their experiences. After the training, ongoing coaching and support will be provided through TLC's Online Center. These training sessions are free and open to anyone who works with or makes decisions on behalf of children in our child protection and juvenile justice systems, including multidisciplinary professionals. Attendees receive 15 hours of CLE credit and Family Violence CJE credit. For a brochure on the trainings, click here.

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.

08/01/20   American Bar Association Resolutions Address Harm to Children From Strip Searches, Restraints and Seclusion, and Misuse of Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Experiences

During the first week of August 2020, the American Bar Association House of Delegates approved three resolutions addressing child protection. One resolution encourages the legal community to engage with individuals who have lived experience in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. An attached report provides concrete examples for legal organizations to engage individuals with lived experience and to improve diversity efforts. To read it, click here. Another urges governments to prohibit strip searches of children except in narrow circumstances, to conduct strip searches respecting a child's sexual orientation and gender identity, to prohibit body cavity searches, and to promote awareness of the traumatic effects of strip searches of children. To read it, click here. The third resolution urges legislation and policies prohibiting use of seclusion and mechanical and chemical restraints on preK-12 students. To read it, click here.

07/22/20   Children's Bureau Issues More Guidance on Federal Reimbursement for Legal Representation of Children and Parents

The Children's Bureau has issued a technical bulletin to answer stakeholder questions regarding a January 2019 policy change allowing federal reimbursement for a portion of the costs of legal representation for parents and children in child protection cases. Pre-2019 policy prevented Title IV-E funds from being used to compensate states for the cost of parent and child legal representation although funds were available for legal representation of the state agency. Questions from Title IV-E agencies and tribes led to this July 2020 bulletin explaining steps that states and tribes must take before claiming the funds, the process of reporting the costs of such representation, allowable sources of matching state funds, and, the possibility of contracting with private and public agencies for providing legal representation of children and parents. Funds may also be used for partial reimbursement of staff costs and short-term training of attorneys. The bulletin clarifies that costs of child and parent representation prior to removal are also qualified for reimbursement. Only the Title IV-E agency in each state may apply for the funds and distribute them to jurisdictions that compensate such attorneys. The Children's Bureau is a division of the Administration for Children, Youth, and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To view the technical bulletin, click here. Previous bulletins can be found in TLC's Online Center under the topic Title IV-E Agency by going to "Resources" on the menu bar, then "Browse by Topic".

06/29/20   Get a 10% Discount on Registration for 2020 Annual Meeting of National Association of Women Lawyers

Texas Lawyers for Children is proud to be a partnering organization for the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) 2020 Annual Meeting, scheduled to take place as a virtual conference on July 15 and 16. As a partnering organization, TLC's users get a 10% discount on registration. You can register here and use discount code "AM20TLC" to receive the 10% discount. From the NAWL website: "Join leading women lawyers from across the United States and abroad at the NAWL 2020 Annual Meeting. NAWL will recognize and honor leading lawyers who have made a significant impact to improve and diversify the legal profession, as well as NAWL members who, through their time and effort, have made exceptional contributions to fulfilling NAWL's mission. In addition, you will have the opportunity to participate in interesting substantive programming along with plenty of networking opportunities. You will leave inspired to reach new levels of success in your practice."

06/16/20   The Court Monitors Issued Their First Report in the Federal Class Action Suit on Behalf of Texas Foster Children

The court monitors assigned to oversee the Department of Family and Protective Services's compliance with the court order in M.D. v. Abbott, the federal class action lawsuit for the protection of children in the permanent managing conservatorship of the State, issued their first comprehensive report on June 16, 2020. After an extensive review, the Monitors concluded, "Although the State represented to the Monitors in September 2019 that, with few exceptions, Texas was compliant with the Court's remedial orders, the Monitors discovered otherwise: the results in some instances surfaced substantial threats to children's safety . . .[the] findings reveal a disjointed and dangerous child protection system, inefficiently and unsafely divided between two state agencies, where harm to children is at critical times overlooked, ignored, or forgotten." M.D. v. Abbott, Case No. 2:11-cv-00084, Doc. 869, 12 (June 16, 2020). Infractions by the State that the monitors cited include lack of response to hotline calls reporting abuse of children in foster care, failure to adequately oversee facilities, use of physical restraint, and abuse by "serial alleged perpetrators" who move from facility to facility. Id. at 13. In fact, according to the results of the review, "Texas's overdue, incomplete, and at times, incompetent investigations of child abuse or neglect betray the State's special relationship with, and responsibility to children, placing them at risk of future harm by perpetrators whose maltreatment of children goes unchecked.  . .  . . .The problem is systemic and enduring . . . as children's safety hangs in the balance." Id.  To view the complete report, click here. To view an article from The Texas Tribune, click here and an article from the Dallas Morning News, click here.

04/24/20   NACC Free Webinar Covers Stress Management for Attorneys and Clients

On May 13, 2020, National Association of Counsel for Children will host "Trauma-Responsive Skills for Lawyers During COVID-19," a free webinar open to members and non-members. Presenters Rebecca M. Stahl, J.D., LLM, SEP and Cynthia Bowkley, J.D., CPPM, SE Advanced Student will address the ways COVID-19 is affecting legal practice, attorneys, and clients. They will suggest simple tools to manage stress and maximize performance in response to the physical, mental and emotional impacts on attorneys. How to assist clients in regulating trauma reactions in high stress situations, including the courtroom, will be addressed also. The webinar is 1:00-2:30 p.m. Central. Click here to register.

04/08/20   TLC's Online Center Has Tips, Information, and Resources on Practicing Child Protection Law During the Coronavirus Crisis

Texas Lawyers for Children continues to post resources in the Online Center to assist judges and attorneys in managing child protection dockets during the coronavirus crisis. All resources are free to registered users and can be located by going to the menu bar and clicking "Resources," "Browse by Topic," "Coronavirus." Click on a resource type, such as Forms, Links, or Articles and Papers. To view a list of recently added resources, click here.

04/07/20   Carrington Coleman Alerts Help Small and Solo Firms Navigate Federal Coronavirus Loan Programs

Carrington Coleman law firm has issued "COVID-19 Client Alerts" that explain federal loan programs available to small businesses during the coronavirus crisis. Texas Lawyers for Children is making the alerts available to its users, many of whom are small and solo firms in need of economic relief. The alerts may be found as one document in the Texas Lawyers for Children Online Resource Center. Go to the home page, Browse by Topic, Coronavirus, Articles and Papers. Other resources to assist in your practice are there also.

03/31/20   April 2- NACC & ABA Children's Rights Litigation Committee Co-Sponsor Webinar on Zealous Advocacy During Pandemic

On April 2, from 3-4:30 p.m. Central time, the National Association of Counsel for Children ("NACC") and the ABA Children's Rights Litigation Committee will present a webinar entitled "Zealous Advocacy During COVID-19: Practical Tips and Best Practices." This free presentation is open to all who register. In the words of the NACC -- "In the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic, many aspects of life have dramatically changed -- schools, court hearings, social events. What has not changed, however, are the critical and urgent needs of youth involved in the child welfare system. Join advocates from around the country who will share guidance and practical tips to safeguard and advance the rights of youth in the child welfare system during COVID-19 and beyond. Practitioners will walk away with concrete tools to determine what ongoing and unique client needs present themselves during these times and how to maintain, modify, and increase zealous advocacy amid the pandemic." To register, click here.

02/21/20   The Child Protection Law Section Is Seeking Nominations for Its First Annual Rutland Excellence in Advocacy Award - Deadline March 4

The State Bar's Child Protection Law Section is seeking nominations for its first annual Rutland Excellence in Advocacy Award. The award is named after Fairy Davenport Rutland in recognition of her exceptional leadership as a founding member and Chair of the State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect for over 20 years and her continuing dedication and many ongoing contributions to the field of child welfare. The award recognizes an attorney who has provided distinguished services within the child protection field. The deadline for nominations is March 4, 2020. The award recipient will be announced at the Advanced Child Protection Law Course, which is being conducted in Houston on March 26 & 27. To view the requirements for nominations, click here.

02/12/20   Scholarships Are Available for the Advanced Child Protection Law Course

The Child Protection Law Section of the State Bar is offering scholarships for its Third Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course, which is being conducted on March 26 & 27 in Houston, with Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., as the keynote speaker. You must be a section member to apply. Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis. For details about the conference and how to apply for a scholarship, click here.

01/30/20   Child Protection Law Section Will Conduct Third Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course

The Child Protection Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, chaired by Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann, will be hosting its Third Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course on March 26-27 in Houston. This advanced course features a keynote address by Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph.D., on the misdiagnosis of mental disorders in foster children and the inappropriate use of psychotropic medication, as well as presentations involving 2 Texas Supreme Court Justices, multi-ethnic issues, a technology workshop, a prep session for the Child Welfare Law Specialization Exam, and many other timely topics. To view the conference brochure, click here. To register online, click here.

01/10/20   NACC Free Webinar Highlights Two Resources on Family First Prevention Services Act

On Tuesday, January 14, 2020, the National Association of Counsel for Children will offer a free webinar on its two new resources, the Family First Legal Guide and the Tool for Engaging the Legal Community in Family First Implementation. These resources will assist the legal community and child welfare agencies with implementing provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act, federal legislation passed in 2018 with the goal of keeping children safely with their families and avoiding the trauma of entering foster care. The Legal Guide is written for attorneys, judges, magistrates, and court personnel, and provides an overview about how the Family First Act changes federal child welfare law, identifies opportunities to use the Act in legal advocacy and judicial decision-making, and offers guidance on supporting effective implementation in local communities. The Tool for Engaging the Legal Community can facilitate dialogue between child welfare agency implementation teams and the legal community to address potential unintended consequences and maximize positive impact for children and families. The webinar is titled New Legal Resources for Incorporating the Family First Act into Your Practice in 2020. It will take place from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. CST on January 14. To register, click here.

12/15/19   The Kansas City Star Surveyed Inmates in 12 States Who Were Formerly in Foster Care and Found Long-Term Outcomes are Disturbing

In December 2019, The Kansas City Star published the results of a survey of inmates in 12 states who were formerly in foster care. The investigation resulted in a series of six stories and nine videos describing the stark outcomes for children in foster care. The newspaper contacted every state asking for participation in the survey. Twelve states agreed and distributed the one-page questionnaires to inmates. The year-long investigation also took a comprehensive look at long-term outcomes for children who age out of the foster care system. It revealed the trauma that children suffer going into foster care and the need for trauma-informed services. Also interviewed were social workers, child welfare experts and advocates, law enforcement, judges, foster parents, doctors, scientists, and lawyers. The Star team also reviewed decades of class action suits against states and child welfare budget statistics. The stories are available here. The videos are available here.

12/13/19   Two News Organizations Took Four Years Investigating How Well States are Complying with the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

In December 2019 The Boston Globe and ProPublica published an investigation into states' compliance with the federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. They found that no state fully complies with the act's requirements. A team of journalists spent four years collecting records and creating two national databases, one of which is a state-by-state compliance assessment. The news story contains a clickable map to see how each state measures up in protecting drug-affected infants, providing representation for abuse victims in court, and producing public reports about the children who die there. The story is available here.

08/28/19   Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Commission for Children, Youth and Families Issues Foster Child Education Opportunities Reminder

On August 28, 2019, the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Commission for Children, Youth and Families issued a Jurist in Residence letter reminding attorneys and judges of education opportunities for children in foster care. The letter includes pre-K eligibility, advocates available for primary and secondary students, and higher education opportunities. To read the letter, go here. Jurist in Residence letters are a program of the permanent commission. For a list of all JIRs, go here.

05/15/19   Deadline to Apply for an Attorney Training Scholarship from the Supreme Court Children's Commission for Summer Programs Is May 17

The Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission is currently offering scholarships for qualifying attorneys to attend the State Bar of Texas' 2019 one-day Child Abuse and Neglect Workshop, as well as the 2019 National Association of Counsel for Children's 42nd Annual National Child Welfare, Juvenile & Family Law Conference and Red Book Training in Anaheim, California. The Commission is also offering scholarships for qualifying attorneys to attend another training from NACC, the third round of the NACC Red Book Online Training Course, which starts in September 2019. Please click here to see details about each of these scholarship opportunities. Please note: TLC is NOT the organization providing the scholarships, so if you have any questions, please contact the Children's Commission directly at

05/13/19   Texas Lawyers for Children Begins Its Legal Professional Trauma Training Program on June 6 & 7 in Dallas & Will Be Presenting It in Other Cities This Fall

Texas Lawyers for Children is excited to announce our new Legal Professional Trauma Training Program, a two-day live training event (with 15 hours of CLE and Family Violence CJE Credit) that will increase your understanding regarding children and families who have experienced trauma, how to advocate for their healing, and ways we can work together to promote systemic change. The grant from the Office of the Governor will allow us to offer the following training events for FREE: Dallas (June 6-7), Lorenzo Hotel--hotel discount ends May 23; Austin (mid-September); Houston (early October); Panhandle Area (late October). We have also sought an additional grant to provide this training in more cities throughout the state and will keep you posted about other opportunities. For more information about this exciting new program, please click here to see the brochure.

03/13/19   Early Bird Deadline for the 2nd Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course Is March 14, 2019

The new Child Protection Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, chaired by Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann, will be hosting its Second Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course on March 28-29 in Dallas. This advanced course includes presentations involving 3 Texas Supreme Court Justices, a keynote address regarding the federal class action suit brought on behalf of Texas foster children, a prep session for the Child Welfare Law Specialization Exam, and many other timely topics. Early bird deadline for $25 off the registration fee is March 14, 2019. To view the conference brochure and access the link to register, click here.

02/07/19   New Child Protection Law Section Will Conduct Second Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course

The new Child Protection Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, chaired by Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann, will be hosting its Second Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course on March 28-29 in Dallas. This advanced course includes presentations involving 3 Texas Supreme Court Justices, a keynote address regarding the federal class action suit brought on behalf of Texas foster children, a prep session for the Child Welfare Law Specialization Exam, and many other timely topics. Thanks to funding from the Texas Supreme Court Children's Commission, a limited number of scholarships will be provided on a first come, first served basis to qualifying applicants. Scholarship recipients will be notified by February 15, 2019. To view the conference brochure, which includes information regarding how to apply for a scholarship, click here.

01/07/19   Title IV-E Funds May Now Be Used to Cover Costs of Attorneys for Children and Parents in CPS Cases

On January 7, 2019, the Children's Bureau (which is the federal agency that provides funding for and monitors child welfare agencies across the country) changed its policy regarding use of Title IV-E funds for the costs of foster care. The Bureau is now allowing IV-E agencies to claim as an administrative cost (to be paid at the rate of 50%) the cost of legal services for attorneys for children who are candidates for foster care or who are in foster care and for the children's parents. Previously, these funds could only be used for attorneys representing the Title IV-E agencies. The Bureau made this change in its Child Welfare Policy Manual, which contains questions and answers that apply to the child welfare programs, by deleting Question & Answer 8.1B#18 and replacing it with Question & Answer 8.1B#30. This means that federal funding is now available for legal services not only in the TMC phase of the case but also for children in the permanent managing conservatorship of the State. To view the new policy, click here.

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