Project Team, Board, & Advisory Council



Advisory Council

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, Texas

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
San Antonio, Texas

Delane Kinney, Ph.D.

Former Director of Psychological Services
Salesmanship Club Youth & Family Centers
Dallas, Texas

Harriet Miers, J.D.

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, California

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

Robert Maher


Thao Te


Krista Warren



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 Frasier.

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)