The Jurist in Residence (JIR) position was created to foster judicial leadership and promote greater expertise among child protection judges. The JIR develops relationships with retired and sitting judges, acts as a consultant, trainer, and speaker to provide expert and seasoned judicial advice on matters affecting courts and legal system handling of child welfare cases and issues. The JIR also publishes informational letters and electronic communiques concerning items of interest, such as changes in policy, law, practice, and training events. Additionally, the JIR assists with the development of curriculum for the annual Children’s Commission Child Welfare Judges Conference, and moderates and presents at this conference and many others. The JIR also reviews updates to the Child Protection Law Bench Book and attends and participates in events on behalf of the Commission, including Round Tables, other conferences, and Trial Skills Trainings.

The Children's Commission has two Jurists in Residence, Judge Rob Hofmann and Judge Piper McCraw, and is also guided by Special Judicial Advisors, Justice Michael Massengale and Sheila Craig.

Hon. Rob Hofmann, Judge of the 452nd District Court; Senior Jurist in Residence

Judge Rob Hofmann

Rob Hofmann began his career of public service for the State of Texas in 1996, now serving as judge of the 452nd Judicial District in the western Hill Country. In 2018, Judge Hofmann was appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas to serve as a Jurist in Residence for the Children’s Commission and later received the Texas CASA Judicial Leadership Award. In 2016, Education Reach for Texans formally recognized his work as chair of the Commission’s Foster Care and Education Committee to improve educational outcomes for children. He is a Board Member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and has served Texas as the judicial representative at the Children’s Bureau State Planning Meeting and National Court Improvement Program Judicial Leadership Convening. In 2011, Judge Hofmann was named Texas CASA Judge of the Year and has worked with the National Center for State Courts, both as faculty and to help in creation of the first national ASFA Well-Being Outcomes. He is a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas and Sustaining Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation. Judge Hofmann graduated from Texas A&M University and Texas Tech University School of Law. He and his wife are former foster parents and have two children.

Hon. Piper McCraw, Judge, 469th District Court; Jurist in Residence

Prior to her appointment by Governor Abbott in 2015 to the 469th District Court in Collin County, Piper McCraw was an assistant district attorney for Collin County where she was a misdemeanor court chief then later a member of a felony trial team. After leaving the Collin County DA's office, she joined McCraw Gantt, PLLC. In her experience, Judge McCraw has handled a wide variety of cases and tried over 150 jury trials. She is a charter member and board member of both the Collin County Women Lawyer’s Association and the Curt B. Henderson American Inn of Court. Judge McCraw is also proud to serve as the Chair of the Children’s Commission Training Committee. Prior to taking the bench, she was a member of the Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Association Board of Directors and the State Bar of Texas Grievance Committee.

Judge McCraw received a BBA from Southern Methodist University, a JD from Texas A&M School of Law, and she is board certified in Family Law and Child Welfare Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She lives in McKinney with her husband, Mark, and three children.