Recent News

SELECTED NEWS ITEM


05/16/06   Texarkana Court of Appeals Rules That Standing Can Be Challenged by a Motion to Dismiss Instead of Summary Judgment
 

The Sixth Court of Appeals in In the Interest of C.M.C. and J.T.C., 192 S.W.3d 866 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 2006) affirmed the trial court's dismissal of a petition for adoption filed by grandparents. Parental rights had been terminated previously. The grandparents argued that the issue of standing could be decided only by a motion for summary judgment requiring 21 days notice to them. CPS had filed a motion to dismiss challenging the grandparents' standing. The court ruled that dismissal for lack of standing is not a decision on the merits of the case; it is an issue of subject matter jurisdiction and can be decided on a plea to the jurisdiction. The CPS motion was, in effect, a plea to the jurisdiction. In addition, the grandparents did not raise an issue of fact on standing because they did not meet the requirement under Section 102.005 of the Texas Family Code that they have had "substantial past contact" with the children. The evidence presented by affidavit did not, as a matter of law, meet the criteria.

 

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09/12/14 NACC Membership Discount Extended-10/31
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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09/12/14   You Can Join the NACC for Only $50 If You Join by October 31
 

TLC is collaborating with the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) to provide you with a special opportunity to receive a Bronze Membership with the NACC for only $50 if you join by October 31, 2014. The NACC is a multidisciplinary organization that works to strengthen legal advocacy for children and families nationwide. Membership is open to judges, attorneys, and child welfare professionals. A Bronze Membership will give you access to the NACC's numerous resources, as well as a discount on the registration fee for their annual National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law Conference. For more details about the NACC's resources and information on how to receive this special discount, click here.

08/01/14   Providence Terminates Its Contract for Foster Care Redesign
 

Providence Service Corp. of Texas has voluntarily terminated its contract to provide services for the State's foster care redesign efforts. The 5-year contract between DFPS and Providence went into effect on February 1, 2013, and covered services for about 1,100 foster children in 60 counties in West Texas. The contract included an opt-out clause for either party. DFPS will now contract directly with providers in that area as was done prior to the contract with Providence. To view the press release from DFPS, click here. To view a news article about the termination, click here.

06/17/14   Texas Sunset Advisory Commission Is Conducting Key Hearings Regarding DFPS on June 24 & 25
 

On June 24 & 25, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission will hold key hearings regarding the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ("DFPS"). The Sunset Advisory Commission looks at an agency's functions to enhance accountability to the legislature and to the citizens of Texas. The Sunset process affects how agencies function over the next decade. You can provide input to the Commission regarding DFPS by submitting the Commission's input form through Monday, June 30. You can also watch the hearings online. On June 24, the Commission will hear presentations from Commission staff, followed by the response from DFPS. This hearing begins at 10:00 a.m. in room E1.036 of the Capitol Extension. On June 25, the Commission will hear public testimony beginning at 9:00 a.m. in the same room. To view the agenda, click here. To watch the hearings, click here. To access the input form, click here.

06/06/14   Texas Supreme Court Opens Door to Allowing Termination to Be Affirmed on Ground Not Found in Judgment
 

On June 6, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion that apparently would allow a termination of parental rights judgment to be affirmed on a ground not cited as found in the trial court judgment. The opinion in S.M.R. v. Tex. Dep't of Family Protective Services addressed the department's contention than an unfound ground, if "conclusively established" by the evidence, could be the basis for affirming the judgment. In the case, the trial court's judgment terminated parental rights on the endangerment grounds. The court of appeals reversed the judgment, holding that the evidence was insufficient to terminate on either of the endangerment grounds. (The Supreme Court held that the court of appeals applied the appropriate standard of review on those grounds.) The department argued that the court of appeals could have affirmed on the (O) failure to comply ground also, even though the judgment did not make a finding on that ground, because the evidence at trial "conclusively established" the proof necessary to make that finding. The Court seemed to give the argument some validity by saying, "The Department next contends that the evidence supporting subpart (O), the omitted ground, is not only legally sufficient but also conclusive, an argument the Vasquez line of authority did not consider." The Court then goes on to address each of the (O) elements, saying that two of them were "conclusively established" but one was not because there was a fact issue. The inference is that if the department had shown that all three elements of (O) were conclusively established, then the court of appeals could have affirmed the termination judgment on the (O) ground even though the trial court did not make that finding. To view the Court's opinion, click here.

06/03/14   Texas State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Is Sponsoring a Statewide Child Welfare Law Conference in Houston on June 18
 

The Texas State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect is sponsoring a statewide child welfare law conference in Houston on June 18 and offering 6 hours of CLE for just $15!! Funding was provided by the Texas Supreme Court's Commission for Children, Youth and Families, among others. This conference, "Changing Lives -- Breaking the Cycle," is in collaboration with the Infant & Toddler Court Initiative of Fort Bend and Harris Counties, which is sponsoring the Keeping Infants and Toddlers Safe (KITS) Annual Training as part of this conference on June 19-20. Topics on June 18 include: "Warriors for Children," by Shari Shink, J.D., Founder of the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center, a panel discussion led by TDFPS Commissioner John Specia, and break-out sessions for parents' attorneys, children's attorneys, and TDFPS attorneys. The conference will also provide a great opportunity to network with colleagues from across the state. Participants can register for one, two, or three days of the conference. To see the full agenda, click here. To register online, click here.

05/30/14   Children's Commission Is Providing Attorney Registration Scholarships for Child Abuse and Neglect Workshop at Advanced Family Law Conference - Deadline June 27
 

The Texas Supreme Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families is providing scholarships for a limited number of Texas attorneys to attend the one-day Child Abuse and Neglect Workshop at the State Bar's Advanced Family Law Conference on Aug. 6, 2014, in San Antonio. The workshop is sponsored by the State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is 5:00 pm on Friday, June 27. The scholarship covers registration for the one-day workshop only and does not include expenses for travel or lodging. To access the application form, click here.

05/15/14   Speaker Joe Straus Creates House Select Committee on Child Protection
 

Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, Joe Straus, has created the House Select Committee on Child Protection to study the incidence of child abuse and neglect fatalities in Texas and to make recommendations to protect children. Nine legislators were appointed to the Committee, which will be chaired by Rep. Dawnna Dukes (Austin) and will work in concert with the public members of the Protect our Kids Commission, which was created by the legislature in 2013. In developing its recommendations, the Committee is charged with, among other things, monitoring the ongoing efforts of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the National Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities, as well as suggesting improvements to the screening, assessment, training, and support of potential foster and kinship families. To view the full charge to the Committee, click here. To view the Speaker's press release, click here

04/22/14   House Corrections Committee Will Conduct Key Hearing on Juvenile Justice on April 22
 

On Tuesday, April 22, 2014, beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Room E2.010, the House Corrections Committee will hear testimony on its interim charge concerning juvenile justice. The charge focuses on analyzing and making recommendations concerning outcome-based financing models that would allow the state to partner with private investors and innovative service providers to divert youth into cost-effective and successful programs and interventions. To view the hearing notice and the complete interim charge, click here. To view the hearing live, click here.

04/14/14   The House Human Services Committee Will Conduct a Key Hearing on Foster Care Redesign and on the Texas Adoption Process on April 15
 

On Tuesday, April 15, 2014, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Room E2.030, the House Committee on Human Services will hear testimony on its interim charge concerning Foster Care Redesign. The charge focuses on reviewing the impact of Foster Care Redesign on the child welfare system regarding matters including child safety, placement stability, permanency, and foster parent recruitment and retention. The Committee will also consider its charge regarding the affordability and efficiency of the Texas adoption process. To view the hearing notice and the complete interim charges, click here. To view the hearing live, click here.

03/05/14   The State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Seeks Nominations for Its Annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families
 

The State Bar's Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect is seeking nominations for its annual Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families. The award is named after Ms. Rutland in recognition of her exceptional leadership as a founding member and chair of the Committee for over 20 years and her continuing dedication and many ongoing contributions to the field of child welfare. The award honors an attorney who has made a substantial contribution to the field of advocacy for abused and neglected children. The deadline for nominations is April 9, 2014. Click here to view the nomination form.

02/18/14   New Paper Explains Unworkability of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
 

On Feb. 18, 2014, Professor Vivek Sankaran released his paper entitled "Foster Kids in Limbo: The Effects of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children on the Permanency of Children in Foster Care." Sankaran is Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Child Advocacy Law Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. He is nationally known for his expertise on the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. In this paper he explains how the ICPC is unworkable and negatively affects children in the care of the state. He points out the lack of deadlines for home studies, lack of clear standards for evaluating potential placements, denial of placements for arbitrary reasons, and lack of administrative procedures for independent review of denials. The paper was written for the Annie E. Casey Foundation. To read the paper, click here.

02/12/14   The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services Will Conduct a Key Hearing on Improving Child Protective Services on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014
 

On Thursday, February 20, 2014, beginning at 9:00 a.m. in Room E1.036 (Finance Room), the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services will hear testimony on its interim charge concerning Child Protective Services. The charge focuses on reviewing how the Department collects and uses data to evaluate agency performance and to improve outcomes for children. The Committee is also charged with making recommendations to ensure effective use of data to improve caseworker performance, as well as identifying and improving system deficiencies, improving overall outcomes for children, and reducing child fatalities. To view the hearing notice and complete interim charge, click here. To watch the hearing live, click here.

02/03/14   Native American Organizations Ask Department of Justice to Investigate Treatment of Children in Child Welfare System
 

On Feb. 3, 2014, four Native American organizations sent a letter to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice requesting an investigation into the treatment of Native American children in the child welfare system. The letter alleged violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act and the U.S. Constitution by state child welfare and private adoption systems. Allegations included the ignoring of tribal membership, failure to notify tribes when children are taken into custody, defying tribal placement preferences, denying tribes a presence in the courtroom, scoffing at Native American culture, demeaning parents and traditions, and using professional attorney networks to encourage circumventing of the ICWA. A high-profile U.S. Supreme Court case, Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl, 133 S.Ct. 252 (2013), triggered widespread interest in the ICWA when the Court ruled that the Native American child had to be removed from her Native American father and returned to the adoptive parents. To read the letter, click here. To read the case, click here.

01/21/14   U.S. Supreme Court to Decide How Statute Mandating Restitution to Victims of Child Pornography Applies to Viewers
 

Many child advocacy organizations have filed amicus briefs in Paroline v. Amy Unknown and U.S., No. 12-8561 in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case asks the Court to interpret the Mandatory Restitution for Sexual Exploitation of Children Act, 18 U.S.C. 2259 (2012), regarding how it should be applied to viewers of child pornography. Advocacy organizations argue there is no difference among creators, viewers, or distributors of child pornography with regard to liability for restitution. The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children filed its brief to provide the Court with "the best understanding today of how the marketplace in child pornography and child pornography itself harms its victims." It argues that (1) creators, viewers, and distributors of pornographic images are all participants in the marketplace and all inflict pain and suffering on the child victims; (2) viewing of images inflicts harm even when the child is not sexually assaulted or abused, which harm is multiplied through the Internet; (3) child pornography is a tool for grooming victims; and, (4) victims suffer lifelong negative effects. To view the APSAC brief click here. The Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children, a Dutch government organization that conducts research on human trafficking and the sexual abuse of children to fulfill the Dutch government's international treaty obligations, argues that the United States' treaty obligations must guide the Court's interpretation of the restitution statute. To view that brief click here. To view all of the briefs click here.

01/17/14   DFPS Announces Appointment of Lisa Black as the new Asst. Commissioner for CPS
 

Following the retirement of Audrey Deckinga on December 31, 2013, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services announced the appointment of Lisa Black as the new Asst. Commissioner for Child Protective Services. Ms. Black, a 28-year veteran of CPS, was the Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Director for five years and most recently served as the acting CPS Director for Harris County since Sept. 2013. To read more about Ms. Black's background and appointment, click here.

01/17/14   Former Foster Youth, Homeless Youth, and Young Adults Have a New Housing Opportunity in Austin
 

LifeWorks Youth & Family Alliance opened a new affordable housing complex in South Austin on January 17, 2014. The 45-unit apartment-based complex, The Works at Pleasant Valley, is available to young adults transitioning out of foster care who are homeless or who are living in poverty. The complex is within walking distance of other LifeWorks services, including support, access to education, counseling, and job training. Click here to access the LifeWorks website.

10/22/13   Update on 2013 Changes to Family Code and Various Other Codes Is Now Available Here
 

TLC is grateful to legislative expert Charles Childress (TLC's pro bono Consulting Attorney) for providing TLC with his comprehensive legislative update of all sections of the Family Code affected by bills passed in the 83rd Legislative Session, as shown on the Legislative Reference Library index, as well as various sections of other codes. He has also provided TLC with a PowerPoint presentation he gave, along with Barry Brooks, focusing on provisions of interest to those handling child protection and/or child support cases. To view the legislative update, click here. To view the PowerPoint, click here.

10/08/13   NEW SERVICE — TLC Now Offers Online CLE Programs on Child Welfare/Abuse Topics (FREE to Judges)
 

TLC is delighted to announce that our Online Training Service of accredited CLE programs is now ready for your use! To see the available video-recorded programs, sign in and click on "Conferences and CLE" on the red menu bar; then click on "Online Training Programs." The first series of programs focuses on topics and issues that can help children's ad litems fulfill their new duties regarding the education of their child clients. TLC thanks Carole Hurley (Chair, State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect), Lori Duke (Clinical Professor, Children's Rights Clinic, UT Law School), and Ian Spechler (Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Texas) for serving as the trainers for these programs. All three of these education experts are also participating in TLC's Colleague Connection attorney email network, so you have the ongoing opportunity to ask them questions and benefit from their expertise. There is also a program on Representing Children and Youth in the Permanent Managing Conservatorship of the State. TLC thanks Charles Childress (Former Clinical Director, Children's Rights Clinic, UT Law School), Lynne Corsi (Dallas Attorney), Kristy Piazza Blanchard (President, Texas Young Lawyers Assoc.), and Stephanie White (Former TLC Research Attorney) for serving as the trainers for this program. TLC also thanks TYLA for its help in producing the video. We hope that you will find these CLE programs valuable in your work and look forward to receiving your feedback!

10/04/13   TLC Has Expanded Its Materials on Education Advocacy for Foster Children
 

To assist judges and attorneys with addressing the educational needs of children in foster care, and in keeping with the new legislation and the recommendations of the Education Committee of the Texas Supreme Court Commission for Children, Youth and Families, TLC has expanded its topics concerning the education of foster children. All resources can be found by clicking on "Resources" on the red menu bar of TLC's Online Center, then by clicking on either "Browse by Topic" or "Browse by Resource Type".

10/03/13   Paper Analyzing "Emergency Child Safety and Tex. Fam. Code 161.001(1)(O) After In re E.C.R." Is Now Available Here
 

TLC thanks Sandra Hachem (Sr. Asst. County Attorney, Harris County and former Chair, State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect) for graciously providing TLC with her paper on "Emergency Child Safety and Tex. Fam. Code 161.001(1)(O) After In re E.C.R.". Ms. Hachem's paper analyzes the Texas Supreme Court's decision in the case of In re E.C.R., No. 12-0744, 2013 Tex. LEXIS 473 (Tex. June 14, 2013), and discusses implications of the case regarding emergency removal of children due to risk of abuse. To view Ms. Hachem's paper, click here.

09/06/13   TLC Has Expanded Its Materials on Trauma-Informed Judicial Practice and Trauma-Informed Advocacy
 

In keeping with the national attention on the need for judges and attorneys to address the trauma to children from abuse and neglect, TLC has significantly expanded its materials on child trauma to include Trauma-Informed Judicial Practice and Trauma-Informed Advocacy with materials from the ABA Center on Children and the Law, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and other well-respected groups. All resources can be found by clicking on "Resources" on the red menu bar above, then by clicking on either "Browse by Topic" or "Browse by Resource Type".

09/05/13   A Video on the History and Implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act Is Now Available Here
 

This compelling video is the result of the collaborative efforts of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the National Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues, the National Resource Center for Tribes and Tribal STAR, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The video was produced for the Mississippi Administrative Office of the Courts. The video includes comments from judges across the country, including Hon. Len Edwards and Texas' own Hon. Darlene Byrne. To view the video, please click here.

08/23/13   ICE Has Published a Directive Focusing on Facilitating Parental Interests During Civil Immigration Enforcement Activities
 

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently published a Directive to establish policies and procedures to address the placement, monitoring, accommodation, and removal of alien parents or legal guardians who 1) are primary caretakers of minor children; 2) have a direct interest in family court proceedings; or 3) have minor children who are U.S. Citizens. The goal is to ensure that immigration enforcement activities do not unnecessarily disrupt the parental rights of alien parents and legal guardians of minor children. The Directive also establishes a "Parental Rights Coordinator" who will oversee training, collaboration, and information-sharing among all federal, state, and local personnel, offices, and agencies involved in enforcing the nation's immigration laws or ensuring child welfare. Click here to view the Directive.

08/23/13   Update on New Legislation Concerning Child Abuse and Neglect Is Now Available Here
 

TLC thanks R.J. Hazeltine-Shedd (Asst. County Attorney, Harris County) for providing TLC with his 2013 Statutory Update of Child Abuse and Neglect Legislation. This update discusses new laws passed in the 2013 Legislative Session which impact child abuse and neglect issues and would be of particular interest to judges and attorneys handling cases filed by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. To view the update, click here.

08/22/13   ABA Center on Children and the Law Is Seeking Input on Parents' Attorney Representation, Particularly Attorney Compensation Rates
 

In connection with its National Project to Improve Representation for Parents Involved in the Child Welfare System, the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law is seeking input regarding parent representation, particularly parents' attorney compensation. The project desires to gather as much data and information about the various compensation rates parents' attorneys earn in each state, with the intent of sharing this information with other groups that are interested in improving how and how much parents' attorneys are paid. To complete the survey click here. If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Jill Reyes, J.D., at 202-654-3501, or email her at jill.reyes@americanbar.org.

07/30/13   105 Juveniles Rescued in Nationwide Operation Targeting Underage Prostitution
 

The FBI recently reported recovering 105 juveniles and arresting 159 pimps in their nationwide operation targeting underage prostitution. Operation Cross Country is part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to address the growing problem of child prostitution. To date, the FBI and its task force partners have rescued more than 2,700 children from the streets. The investigations and subsequent 1,350 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 10 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets. Click here to view the FBI's press release about the operation.

06/26/13   U.S. Supreme Court Reverses Denial of Adoption by Non-Indian Couple in Indian Child Welfare Act Case
 

On June 25, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its first major ruling on the Indian Child Welfare Act since 1989 in the case of Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl, No. 12-399, 2013 U.S. LEXIS 4916. The Court reversed the South Carolina Supreme Court and remanded for further proceedings. A birth mother placed a newborn (3/256 Cherokee) with an adoptive couple, who initiated adoption proceedings. The birth father, classified as a Cherokee, attempted to relinquish his parental rights but then changed his mind. The state trial court and supreme court denied the adoption, holding that the adoptive couple had not met their burden under ICWA. The U.S. Supreme Court held that ICWA did not apply. First, the Court reasoned that ICWA refers to the burden to show that serious harm to the child is likely to result from the parent's continued custody, but the birth father never had custody prior to the adoption hearing; therefore, he could not have had "continued custody." Second, the Court noted that ICWA requires a showing that remedial efforts were made to prevent the break-up of the Indian family, but here there was no Indian family because the father abandoned the child before birth and never had custody. The Court also pointed out that ICWA gives placement preferences to other Indian families or the tribe but concluded that that provision does not apply when no such eligible candidates have sought to adopt the child. Click here to read the opinion.

06/17/13   Texas Supreme Court Provides Guidance on Termination of a Parent's Rights for Failure to Comply with a Court Order and on Removal for "Risk"
 

On June, 14, 2013, the Texas Supreme Court provided guidance on the standards for removal and on what is required for termination of a parent's rights for failure to comply with a court order in the case of In re E.C.R., No. 12-0744, 2013 Tex. LEXIS 473 (Tex. June 14, 2013). The Court ruled that the provision of Tex. Fam. Code 161.001(1)(O) requiring proof that the child was removed "for abuse or neglect of the child," in order to terminate parental rights for failure to comply with a court order, does not require actual harm to or neglect of the removed child. Risk of abuse, as shown by previous physical abuse of a sibling, is sufficient. The Court further concluded that in this particular case, the finding necessary to terminate under subsection O was conclusively established as a matter of law. Consequently, in the future, it will be error for a court not to grant an O finding when presented with similar evidence. Click here to read the opinion.

06/17/13   Children's Commission Is Providing Attorney Registration Scholarships for NACC Conference - Deadline July 5
 

The Texas Supreme Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families is generously providing scholarships to a limited number of Texas attorneys to pay the registration fee for the 36th National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law Conference, sponsored by the National Association of Counsel for Children, which will be held from Aug. 26 - 28, 2013, in Atlanta, GA. This application requires a letter from a judge recommending the applicant and verifying that the applicant is currently providing legal representation on the child protection docket. An application will not be considered complete until this letter is received. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is Friday, July 5. To access the online application form, click here.

05/28/13   Children's Commission Is Providing Attorney Registration Scholarships for Child Abuse and Neglect Workshop at Advanced Family Law Conference - Deadline June 14
 

The Texas Supreme Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families is providing scholarships for Texas attorneys to attend the one-day Child Abuse and Neglect Workshop at the State Bar's Advanced Family Law Conference on Aug. 7, 2013, in San Antonio. The deadline to apply for a scholarship is 5:00 pm on Friday, June 14. The scholarship covers registration for the one-day workshop only and does not include expenses for travel or lodging. To access the application form, click here. To view the conference brochure, click here.


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