When a family is involved in a child protection proceeding, quality legal counsel is essential for all parties to ensure that the court strikes the appropriate balance between the rights and duties of all parties involved. The Children’s Commission has maintained a Legal Representation Committee (LRC) since its inception. The Committee exists to identify training needs, advise child welfare system stakeholders on best legal and judicial system practices, evaluate proposed statutory amendments, assess the quality of legal representation throughout the state, and help ensure that court proceedings guard due process, promote child and family engagement, and produce quality legal representation outcomes for the children and families involved.

Please visit the sections below to learn more about our current projects or the Reports & Resources page for additional materials.

The Legal Representation Committee developed various materials designed to help children, parents, and caregivers understand the attorney’s role in the case and the attorney-client relationship.

Coloring Book: Sam and the Search for Spots - How Your Lawyer Can Help You

The 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 in a child welfare case. The coloring book was developed by a workgroup which included law professors, board-certified child welfare law experts, and youth with lived experience in foster care and is designed to help children and caregivers discuss what makes an attorney ad litem for the child different from other people in the child’s case and how the attorney can help the child during the case through counseling and advocacy.

This publication is available in two formats at the links below: to print on a personal device, and for commercial print. 

In English: 

In Spanish: 

For assistance or inquiries about this publication, please contact Jessica Arguijo at children@txcourts.gov.


Brochures Explaining the Attorney’s Role for Parents and for Children in a Child Welfare Case

The following brochures explain the responsibilities of an attorney for a parent or child towards their client and how to resolve issues between the attorney and the client. The brochures are intended to be shared with parents and foster parents in child welfare cases and may be helpful for judges to have available in the courtroom and/or a courthouse library or information center.        


2022 Tool Kit for Attorneys Representing Parents and Children in Child Protection Cases

Developed by the Children’s Commission Legal Representation Committee, the recently updated 2022 Tool Kit for Attorneys Representing Parents and Children in Child Welfare Cases reflects changes made by the 87th Texas Legislative Session and includes new chapters on children without placement, court-ordered services/motions to participate, medical abuse and neglect, and the reinstatement of parental rights. 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 contains topical chapters on concurrent and special issues related to child welfare cases including child well-being, normalcy, dual status, incarceration, and trauma-informed advocacy.

The 2022 Tool Kit for Attorneys Representing Parents and Children in Child Welfare Cases is available in the following:


Tool Kit for Attorneys Representing the Department of Family and Protective Services in Child Protection Cases

This 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 child welfare cases including establishing paternity, placement, visitation, relative and kinship support, reasonable efforts, and support for children and older youth in foster care. The tool kit will be updated at the conclusion of each legislative session for publication in the spring of the following year. The 2018 Tool Kit is current only up to the 85th Legislative Session. The 2022 Tool Kit will be published in Spring 2022 and reflect updates from the 87th Legislative Session. Upon release, a Resource Letter will be shared announcing the new publication. To sign up to receive announcements from the Children’s Commission about the release of this Tool Kit and other resources available for judges and attorneys practicing child welfare law, please subscribe to the Resource Letter for Judges and Attorneys.

2018 Tool Kit for Attorneys Representing the Department of Family and Protective Services in Child Protection Cases

In 2017, the Children’s Commission conducted an extensive survey and research project on legal representation. The study culminated in a report to the Texas Legislature in September 2018 entitled Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission 2018 Study of Legal Representation in Child Protection Cases. The study identified disparities in attorney compensation and performance, a lack of systemic oversight and accountability, and uncertainty about the costs, benefits, and burdens of a county-based system of representation. A primary recommendation of the study was to establish a task force on court-appointed legal representation which could make recommendations for systemic reform of the attorney ad litem/court-appointed representation system currently in place. Subsequently, the Children’s Commission formed a Task Force on Court-Appointed Legal Representation.

The purpose of the Task Force on Court-Appointed Legal Representation was to engage in dialogue with stakeholders and reach agreement on recommendations that could be presented to the Texas Legislature on the statutory and systemic reforms required to help ensure high-quality legal representation for parties involved in child welfare cases. The Final Report of the Task Force on Court-Appointed Legal Representation was released in May 2021. The report made several recommendations to raise the quality of court-appointed legal representation, including the creation of legal representation pilots that adopt different models of providing quality legal representation.