The Children’s Commission promotes child welfare-related CLE in several ways: by providing webcasts generated by the Commission; by producing CPS-related CLE in partnership with TexasBarCLE; and by obtaining Texas MCLE credit for continuing legal education from other jurisdictions and offering these “on demand” on the Commission website at no cost. Please see below for more information on current MCLE offerings within each of these categories.
The Children’s Commission’s 87th Texas Regular Legislative Session Update on CPS-Related Matters was presented live on July 22, 2021, via webcast. Executive Director Jamie Bernstein, Legal Representation Director Dylan Moench, and Staff Attorney Aimee Corbin provided the update on bills affecting child welfare law passed during the 87th Session, the statutes affected, and the effective date.
The recorded webcast, accompanying PowerPoint presentation, and related 87th Texas Regular Legislative Session Report are available below. For attorneys and judges seeking MCLE credit, please contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recordings. This webcast is approved for 2 hours of MCLE, with .25 hours of ethics.
This first of its kind virtual Texas Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Summit provides the judicial and legal communities, caseworkers, and other child welfare stakeholders with in-depth training on the history of ICWA, critical legal components of ICWA, related case law updates, and the important impact of ICWA for Tribal communities.
Presented live on January 22, 2021, the Summit was hosted by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, in partnership with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission.
Video replays and conference materials can be accessed on the Texas ICWA Summit webpage.
The Judicial Trauma Institute was presented live on April 22-23, 2021 via webcast. The content was designed by Commission staff in partnership with the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care (SCTIC) Training Workgroup and hosted by the Texas Center for the Judiciary. The goal of the conference was for judicial teams to gain information and discover practical tools and resources about how to become a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive court in CPS cases. Video replays and conference materials can be accessed on the Judicial Trauma Institute webpage.
In partnership with the State Bar of Texas, the Children's Commission and TexasBarCLE regularly produce and make available live, archived, and accredited online MCLE courses to provide education and training for attorneys who take court-appointed cases or who represent the DFPS on CPS dockets around the state. CPS-related CLE is available in the Online Classroom of TexasBarCLE and include the following:
- Basic and Advanced Trial Skills in CPS Litigation: Persuade and Prevail
- Preparing Your CPS Case for Trial: Position Yourself to Win
- Thinking Ahead: Dealing with Appeals Issues in CPS Cases
- Effective Representation of Children and Aged Out Foster Youth: Beyond the Basics
- Tips and Traps from Appointment Through Trial: Effective Representation of a Parent in a CPS Case; and
- Special Issues in CPS Parent Representation
These live courses are later archived in the TexasBarCLE Online Classroom in the Child Welfare Practice Area. Additional webinars are added periodically while others may rotate off this list as they become outdated.
The TexasBarCLE’s Online Classroom of CPS-related webinars is available at a reduced rate to court-appointed attorneys representing children and/or parents.
For attorneys representing the State of Texas, TexasBarCLE provides scholarships based on financial need. Judges and their full-time staff attorneys can view these offerings for free.
To view the list of MCLE courses offered through TexasBarCLE, please link below to access the Child Welfare Practice Area: TexasBarCLE Online Classroom:
To register for any CLE course, one must be a registered user of the State Bar's website. The account is free and registrants do not have to be a member of the State Bar of Texas.
These offerings available on TexasBarCLE may be considered in some jurisdictions to meet the statutory three-hour education requirements in Texas Family Code Sections 107.004 and 107.0131 for attorneys to qualify for court appointments on child protection dockets or to qualify to remain on a court-appointed list.
Additionally, the TexasBarCLE Online Library offers reports and written materials.
Please email CCTraining@txcourts.gov if you should have any questions.
On May 22, 2020, the Children's Commission hosted a 90-minute webcast, “Effective Advocacy in the Virtual CPS Courtroom,” designed for all practitioners on the CPS docket to share best practices when preparing cases and clients for a virtual hearing.
Moderated by Hon. Rob Hofmann, Judge of 452nd District Court and Jurist in Residence for the Children’s Commission, the panel discussion includes Dennis Arriaga, Managing Attorney for Region 8, DFPS; Jana Clift-Williams, court-appointed attorney in Caldwell, Comal and Guadalupe Counties; and Ann Marie Smith, court-appointed attorney in Bexar, Comal, Hays, Guadalupe, and Caldwell counties. Topics include how to facilitate the client’s meaningful participation in a virtual hearing; how to properly elicit testimony on Zoom; how to properly enter evidence on Zoom; and how to review orders in a virtual setting.