TLC's mission is to improve case outcomes for abused and neglected children by enhancing the quality of legal services they receive, by raising public awareness, and by facilitating improvement in systems that serve children and families. The most important decisions about an abused or neglected child's future are made in court. TLC exists to help ensure that those decisions are the best possible for the child.
This Online Center is dedicated to all children who suffer at the hands of others. May these resources help protect those precious ones from further harm.
Texas Lawyers for Children (TLC) is a program of The Child Protection Connection®, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit umbrella organization. TLC was founded in 1995 to provide specialized training about child abuse issues to Dallas judges and attorneys. Founder Barbara Elias-Perciful had been practicing business litigation at the Dallas law firm Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P., but was moved to action when she took a pro bono case to represent a 12-year old girl who had been sexually abused by her father for years. This little girl's case revealed the devastating deficiencies in the systems meant to protect abused and at-risk children, including a severe lack of tools, research, and expertise available for these children's pivotal cases. Compared to working at a business litigation firm, "It was like practicing law in a tent compared to practicing law in a castle," describes Barbara regarding the vast differences in the availability of funding and resources for attorneys representing abused children and those representing businesses and other types of paying clients.
In 2004 Texas Lawyers for Children created its Online Legal Resource and Communication Center ("TLC Online Center") to expand the accessibility of essential resources to attorneys and judges in the child protection field in Texas and to target court system improvement. In November 2007, the Texas Supreme Court's Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families selected the TLC Online Center program as one of its Texas Court Improvement Program projects for improving the court system's handling of child abuse cases. Since that time, TLC has used the innovative technology and capabilities of its Online Center to make a positive impact for vulnerable children, as seen by numerous awards and recognitions, and has now replicated similar online centers in four other states - California, Florida, Maryland, and Alabama.
TLC's Online Center now has the potential to serve one third of the U.S. child population. TLC continues to add new capabilities to the Online Center model and increase its capacity to build collaborative communities, enhance legal representation, improve judicial decision-making, and facilitate change in agency policy and legislation in each state and across the nation. This model continues to be the only resource of its kind, and we are proud of the work we have been able to do to serve the professionals whose work is pivotal in protecting abused and at-risk children.
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
Texas Lawyers for Children has received significant national, statewide, and regional awards:
In 2019, TLC's Special Projects Attorney, Patricia Hogue, was awarded the Jo Ann Moreland Outstanding Committee Award by the Dallas Bar Association for her work as co-chair on the Juvenile Justice Committee.
In 2018, TLC's Director Barbara Elias-Perciful, was named the Legal Advocate of the Year by the National Association of Counsel for Children for her work in overseeing TLC's impact on improving the legal representation of children.
TLC's Director, Barbara Elias-Perciful, was chosen as the 2017 recipient of the Fairy Davenport Rutland Award for Distinguished Service to Children and Families, given by the Texas State Bar Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect, for her tireless work for the children of Texas and elevation of the practice of child protection law through the Texas Lawyers for Children Program.
In 2014, TLC was recognized by the Foundation for Improvement of Justice with a national award for improving the justice system through its work in improving child protection, speeding up the court process, and as an innovative program that has been proven effective and can serve as a model for others.
TLC was selected as the recipient of the 2010 Award for Excellence in Social Innovation, given by the Dallas Center for Nonprofit Management, that recognized TLC's Online Center as "a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient and sustainable... and demonstrates significant positive change around a specific social issue."
In 2009, TLC's Director Barbara Elias-Perciful, was honored with the American Bar Association's national Child Advocacy Award, due largely to her work in creating TLC's Online Center and for its impact on the lives of children in Texas.