The Children's Commission has developed a number of judicial education and training efforts including webcasts ("in-house" and with TexasBarCLE) and annual conferences.
Please visit the Reports & Resources page for a list of available Presentations from Past Judicial Summits & Conferences.
Below is a description of current webcast offerings produced by the Children's Commission:
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. Judicial teams were composed by judges who invited the following members from their jurisdictions: a court coordinator; a prosecutor; an attorney who takes appointments for parents and for children in CPS cases; a senior-level Caseworker or Supervisor at DFPS; and a CASA Executive Director or Program Director. Due to the virtual format, additional child welfare stakeholders and single registrant judges also attended.
Video replays and conference materials can be accessed on the Judicial Trauma Institute webpage.
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 an 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.
Child Protection Courts, also known as CPCs, were created to assist trial courts in rural areas with managing their child abuse and neglect dockets. Like the child support court associate judges, these associate judges are appointed by their regional presiding judges and are OCA employees. At the discretion of the presiding judge, visiting judges are sometimes appointed to hear these cases instead of associate judges. The judges assigned to these dockets hear child abuse and neglect cases exclusively. With this exclusive focus, children on CPC dockets can achieve permanency more quickly and the quality of placement decisions should be higher. There are currently 30 child protection courts operating in Texas. The Children’s Commission provides funding to support CPCMS as well as other goods and services required by CPC judges and coordinators to conduct hearings and manage cases.
Based on the success of the July 2019 CPC Convening at which CPC Judges and their court coordinators were trained on court management and data collection by the Commission in partnership with OCA, the Commission plans to host a similar CPC convening in late July 2021, in a virtual format
The CPC Convening will begin with a half-day of training on the afternoon of Wednesday, July 28, 2021 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and then reconvene for a full day of training on Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. All conference sessions will include CPC Judges and Court Coordinators, except for the final session which will be separate moderated discussions. Training topics will include CPCMS updates, an update on Community Based Care, and best practices related to virtual and hybrid proceedings.
Details regarding registration, the agenda, and conference materials will be provided closer to the July conference dates.
Each year, the Children's Commission coordinates and hosts the Child Welfare Judges Conference (CWJC) through the Commission's grant with the Texas Center for the Judiciary (TCJ). TCJ specializes in judicial education and training opportunities for active, retired, and former Texas appellate, district and county court at law judges, as well as associate judges and court personnel.
The 14th Annual Child Welfare Judges Conference will be held virtually in partnership with TCJ on October 25-27, 2021. This year, there will be a pre-conference event on the opening day of the conference, followed by a full program. The pre-conference will start at 8:30 a.m. on Monday morning, October 25; the full conference opens midday on Monday, October 25; and the conference will end at noon on Wednesday, October 27. Registration for the pre-conference and the full conference is now open.
The pre-conference training, entitled “Essentials of Child Welfare Cases,” will focus on legal nuts and bolts as well as the importance of being trauma-informed, viewing families through an equity lens, including youth and family voice, making individualized reasonable efforts determinations, and being data-informed. The pre-conference is open to all judicial attendees. If you are interested in attending the pre-conference training, please check the "pre-conference" option when registering.
Three Continuing Judicial Education (CJE) hours and three Family Violence (FV) hours can be obtained by attending the pre-conference and the full 2021 Child Welfare Judges Conference program provides 12.75 CJE and FV hours. There is no registration fee.
Judges, please save your spot for the pre-conference and/or full program by registering on TCJ’s website at the following link: 2021 Child Welfare Judges Conference Registration.
Please note that users will need to be signed in to view the webpage.
In addition to the annual Child Welfare Judges Conference, the Children's Commission sponsors a half-day track at the annual Family Justice Conference hosted by the Texas Center for the Judiciary in January of each year. The 2021 conference was held virtually by Texas Center for the Judiciary on January 14th. The three presentations and speakers were:
- Going Upstream: The Legal Community’s Role in Prevention (Judge Robin Sage, Casey Family Foundation);
- Reasonable Efforts in Removal Decisions: What Judges Need to Know (Judge Thomas Stuckey, Associate Judge of the Centex Child Protection Court South and Ms. Katie Drummond, Assistant District Attorney, Travis County); and
- Promoting Positive Permanency Through All Stages of a CPS Case (Judge Angela Graves-Harrington, Judge of the 246thFamily District Court of Harris County).
Judges wishing to view these presentations may register through the Texas Center for the Judiciary to do so. Recordings of these presentations will be available for a year following the date of the live virtual event.
Please look for announcements regarding the next conference from the Texas Center for the Judiciary or through the Children’s Commission’s Jurist in Residence letters.
On June 5, 2020, the Children's Commission hosted a one-hour webcast, “Benefits of Utilizing Technology in Child Welfare Cases,” designed for judges who preside over the CPS docket.
Moderated by Hon. Rob Hofmann, Judge of 452nd District Court and Jurist in Residence for the Children’s Commission, the panel discussion includes five judges who share their experiences with virtual child welfare hearings and related silver linings. Topics include how to manage dockets and find an interpreter; greater child and parent engagement; the advantages of virtual mediation; an increase in attorney participation and preparation; and the benefits of increased frequency of family time (also known as visitation). Viewers will also learn about how all of these technological benefits can be used to advance permanency for children in care.
Panelists are Hon. Melissa DeGerolami, Associate Judge of the Child Protection Court of South Central Texas; Hon. Delia Gonzales, Associate Judge of the Child Protection and Permanency Court in Dallas County; Hon. Thomas Stuckey, Associate Judge of the Centex Child Protection Court South; Hon. Angela Graves-Harrington, District Judge of the 246th Family Court in Harris County; and Hon. Carlos Villalon Jr., Associate Judge for the Child Protection Court of the Rio Grande Valley West.
One MCLE credit hour for the webcast replay is available. The recorded webcast is linked below.
To claim MCLE credit, please email CCTraining@txcourts.gov at the conclusion of the replay.
Texas judges can receive MCLE credit at no charge for programs put on by the State Bar of Texas' CLE branch, TexasBarCLE, including the Advanced Family Law’s Child Abuse and Neglect CLE (in August of every year). For more information on how to receive free MCLE credit from TexasBarCLE, please contact the State Bar of Texas. Judges can also view trainings produced by the Children’s Commission in partnership with TexasBarCLE with CPS-related CLE content (select the Child Welfare Practice Area from the list) at TexasBarCLE.com.