The Advisory Council is not responsible for oversight of the day-to-day operations of TLC
or for the legal research and materials provided by TLC.
Hon. Jean Boyd
District Judge (Ret.), 323rd District Court Tarrant County Chair, Juvenile Justice
Judicial Section State Bar of Texas Fort Worth, Texas
Charles G. Childress, J.D.
Former Clinical Professor The University of Texas School of Law Children’s
Rights Clinic Austin, Texas
Loree Conrad, J.D.
Law Office of Loree Conrad Dallas, Texas
Howard Davidson, J.D.
Former Director ABA Center on Children and the Law Washington, D.C.
Nancy R. DeWees, J.D., LMSW-ACP, LPC
Former Program Administrator Tarrant County CPS & Regional Placement Fort Worth,
Sandra D. Hachem, J.D.
Senior Assistant County Attorney, Harris County Former Chair, State Bar Committee on Child
Abuse and Neglect Houston, Texas
Hon. Bonnie Crane Hellums
District Judge (Ret.), 247th District Court, Harris County Commissioner, Supreme Court,
Children's Commission Houston, Texas
Hon. Robert Hofmann
District Judge, 452nd Judicial District Court, Edwards County Commissioner, Supreme Court,
Children's Commission Mason, Texas
Nancy Kellogg, M.D.
Medical Director ChildSafe San Antonio, Texas
Delane Kinney, Ph.D.
Former Director of Psychological Services Salesmanship Club Youth & Family
Centers Dallas, Texas
Harriet Miers, J.D.
Partner Locke Lord, L.L.P. Dallas, Texas and Washington, D.C.
Frederick C. Moss, J.D., LL.M.
Professor Emeritus, Dedman School of Law Southern Methodist University Dallas, Texas
John E.B. Myers, J.D.
Professor of Law, McGeorge School of Law University of the Pacific Sacramento,
Elizabeth Ruman Plumlee, J.D.
Attorney at Law Dallas, Texas
Fairy Davenport Rutland, J.D.
Co-Founder, State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect Charter Member, Supreme Court
Children's Commission Austin, Texas
Hon. Peter Sakai
District Judge, 225th District Court, Bexar County Commissioner, Supreme Court
Children's Commission San Antonio, Texas
John J. Sampson, LL.B.
Professor of Law, The University of Texas School of Law Co-Author, Sampson &
Tindall's, Texas Family Code Annotated Austin, Texas
Hon. Cheryl Lee Shannon
District Judge, 305th District Court Dallas County Commissioner, Supreme Court
Children's Commission Dallas, Texas
Board of Trustees
Anand Rohatgi, M.D.
Trustee & Chair of the Board
Kristy Blanchard, J.D.
Leland De La Garza, J.D.
Trustee & Secretary
Barbara J. Elias-Perciful, J.D.
Trustee & President
TLC Project Team
Barbara Elias-Perciful, J.D. Executive Director & Director of Legal Services
As founder and director of Texas Lawyers for Children, Barbara
oversees all aspects of the TLC program. With over 20 years’ experience in child
protection law, Barbara Elias-Perciful has served as past Chair of the Texas State Bar's
Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect and was the recipient of the American Bar
Association’s national 2009 Child Advocacy Award, largely due to her work in
creating TLC’s Online Center. Barbara graduated second in her class and cum laude
from Southern Methodist University’s School of Law in 1984. After completing a
federal judicial clerkship, she practiced law at Carrington, Coleman, Sloman &
Blumenthal in Dallas. After taking her first court appointment to represent an abused
child, Barbara left Carrington, Coleman and has devoted her practice and life’s
work exclusively to issues affecting abused children. Currently, Barbara serves on the
Collaborative Council for the Texas Supreme Court Permanent Judicial Commission for
Children, Youth, and Families, the Child Protection Roundtable, the inaugural Governing
Council of the Child Protection Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, and the Statewide
Consortium for Trauma Informed Care in Texas. After 37 1/2 years together, Barbara is
still madly in love with her husband, Harold Elias-Perciful. Barbara and Harold enjoy
dancing and spending time outdoors in places of natural beauty. They currently have two
furry children, their rescue Great Pyrenees, Huli and Palu.
B. Beecher Threatt, J.D. Senior Research Attorney
Beecher maintains the Texas Lawyers for Children Online Resource
Center, regularly adding case opinions, webinar materials, scholarly articles, statutes,
and other resources. She topically codes each document in the Online Center for faster
searching and is constantly adding new topics. Law students from Dedman School of Law at
Southern Methodist University assist Beecher in updating the Online Center materials.
She has worked for Texas Lawyers for Children for more than 20 years. Prior to that, she
was director of the Texas Legal Resource Center for Child Abuse and Neglect, a
pre-internet research project that was based at The University of Texas School of Law.
She also served as clinical director of the law school’s Juvenile Law Clinic and
taught a writing seminar on national child protection policy. Beecher was also in
private family law practice in Austin and routinely took court appointments representing
children and parents in child protection cases. Her education was at Rice University
(B.A., History) and University of Houston Bates College of Law (J.D.). Beecher has two
children, Ross (31) and Michael (29), and two grandchildren.
Patricia Hogue, J.D. Special Projects Attorney
Patricia has worked with TLC for over 11 years and serves abused
children in a variety of different ways. She advocates on their behalf in the
legislature, recruits and oversees the work of volunteer attorneys in TLC’s
Education Advocate project, and speaks on behalf of children in local and statewide
consortiums and committees. Patricia was an Assistant District Attorney for Dallas
County for approximately 14 years specializing in child abuse prosecutions. She served
as Child Abuse Division Chief for over 7 years supervising legal staff daily responsible
for over 1500 pending felony child abuse cases and was chosen Prosecutor of the Year in
2004. Patricia has also worked with other nonprofit child advocacy organizations
including Shaken Baby Alliance and Tex Protects. Patricia earned a Bachelor of Science
in Social Sciences with a major in psychology from Southwestern University in
Georgetown, Texas and received her law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.
Patricia also serves as a court-appointed attorney for both children and indigent
parents in Dallas County. She lives in Dallas with her husband Robert and children who
have grown up way too fast, Zachary (20) and Angeline (18).
Kristen Bell, J.D. Director of Operations and Program Attorney
Kristen has spent her career focused on ensuring that children have
the best opportunities possible. As Director of Operations and Program Attorney for TLC,
Kristen oversees TLC’s internal operations in addition to engaging in legal
research and advocacy for abused children, with a passion for helping traumatized
children find healing within the foster care system. Kristen has been an associate at
both Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal and Haynes & Boone, LLP. Kristen
earned a J.D. from Southern Methodist University, graduating summa cum laude. In law
school, she served as President of the SMU Law Review and was introduced to child
protection law through the W.W. Caruth Child Advocacy Clinic. Kristen is also an
educator and served in the public school classroom for 11 years where she gained
experience working with many different types of children. During her time as an
educator, Kristen was selected as the Secondary Teacher of the Year for Region XI and
earned her Master's degree in Educational Leadership. She is thankful for her husband,
Philip, and especially proud of her own three children – Kate, Watson, and Jean
Paul -- who teach her new lessons every day.
Merrie Cavanaugh, J.D. Outreach Attorney
As the Outreach Attorney for Texas Lawyers for Children, Merrie's role is to bring
awareness of the needs of abused children and to share the mission of the Connection
with the public. Merrie is former VP & General Counsel with AT&T. She
started as a litigator for what was then SBC/Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. During
her 25 years with the company, Merrie had a fascinating career with numerous mergers and
acquisitions, as SBC transformed from a regional wireline company to the world's largest
telecommunications company. Merrie supported a variety of areas of the
business. Her leadership roles include: VP & General Counsel for the data and
internet affiliates; VP & General Counsel of AT&T East; VP & General Counsel
for AT&T’s national sales segment; and VP & General Counsel for
AT&T’s Global Network Operations. The mission of Texas Lawyers for
Children speaks to her heart, as Merrie was a Child Welfare Worker before going to law
school. She saw first-hand how abused children need effective advocates in
court. Merrie received her B.S. cum laude from Texas A&M University
and a J.D. with distinctionfrom St. Mary’s University School of Law.
She enjoys traveling with her husband, especially to see their 2 children who live
in NYC and are pursuing their passions teaching in at-risk schools.
Michael Garrett Director of Systems and Creative Services
Michael has worked with Texas Lawyers for Children for over 16
years, researching and designing based on needs specific to users in the areas of child
protection and juvenile justice. His background in communication design and anthropology
led him to focus on research and identifying specific user needs to build efficient,
effective, user-centric digital solutions. Michael acts as lead graphic designer, user
experience director, and project manager for the building of online systems for other
state organizations. He also tests, upgrades, and provides training on our proprietary
content management system. Michael has a degree in architecture from the University of
Texas at Arlington and studied communication design and anthropology at the University
of North Texas. Michael's hobbies include reading, eating, and watching reruns of
Molly Hall Training and Events Coordinator
As Training and Events Coordinator, Molly oversees the help desk
for the Online Center, coordinates TLC's live and online training programs, plans
fundraising events, and provides support for many other project activities. Prior to
working with TLC, Molly served as Executive Director and President for two area Chambers
of Commerce, and before that was an administrator for various non-profit organizations
serving at-risk youth. She has experience managing personnel and resources, executing
numerous events, and overseeing the daily operations of organizations, and she has a
passion for helping others. Molly has degrees in Management and Marketing from Texas
A&M University, and a Masters in Counseling from Amberton University. She lives near
Dallas with her husband Peter, daughter Madeleine (sophomore at Texas Tech), son Thomas
(8th grade), and three dogs.
Megan Bradley Public Awareness Coordinator
As Public Awareness Coordinator, Megan helps to recruit volunteer attorneys, corresponds
with the active volunteers and manages TLC's social media platform. Prior to her
position with TLC, she gained experience in the non-profit sector as Event Coordinator
for the American Diabetes Association. She also spent time serving as a volunteer for
Junior Achievement and American Cancer Society. Megan graduated from the University of
Tennessee with a bachelors degree in Communication Studies in 2008 and moved to Texas in
February 2019. She is a wife and the mom of two boys, two cats and a dog. She is crafty
and loves to travel and spend time with friends and family.
Students at Dedman School of Law Research Assistants (Volunteer)
Charles G. Childress, J.D. Consulting Attorney (Volunteer)