The 2018 applications are now available online until midnight May 7, 2018 at the TBLS “Get Certified” page. Among other requirements, applicants must be licensed to practice law for at least 5 years and show substantial involvement in specific matters and cases as listed below. Applicants are notified in July, 2018 of the TBLS decision to admit them to take the Exam, and the Exam will be held on October 15, 2018 in Austin. For details concerning the application process and exam information, please visit www.tbls.org or contact TBLS at tbls@tbls.org, or call 1-855-277-8257.

Child Welfare Applicants are required to have:

  • Devoted a minimum of 25% of his or her time practicing child welfare law in Texas during each of the three years immediately preceding the application;
  • Served as lead counsel for a party or child from the inception of the case or time of appointment or engagement to final judgment in 10 cases that meet one of these requirements:

1. a contested child welfare case in a trial court of record that involves oral testimony and factual findings, excluding default judgments; or

2. an appeal in a child welfare case that is fully briefed on the merits at the appellate level.  Under (b), an appeal that applicant prosecutes or defends in an intermediate appellate court and in the Supreme Court of Texas counts as one case.

  • Participated in 20 cases that meet one of these requirements:

1. A contested child welfare case in which applicant served as lead counsel for a party or a child and that was resolved without a trial on the merits; or

2. Post-trial proceedings in which applicant played a substantial role.

Certification without Examination

The new specialty area offers an option of granting certification without requiring a written examination to an applicant who:

1. Has been licensed for 10 years;

2. Is certified by TBLS in Family Law.

3. Meets all of the Substantial Involvement requirements of the Child Welfare standards.

This grandfather option is only available for the first 3 years, ending with the 2020 certification applications.

For further information, please consult the complete Child Welfare Standards for Attorney Certification

Exam Fee Reimbursement

The Children’s Commission is offering exam fee reimbursement to attorneys and judges who become Board Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) in Child Welfare Law.

Attorneys and judges will be required to pay the application fee and the examination fee in order to take the exam. Following successful completion of the exam, those who become Board Certified in Child Welfare Law will be eligible to receive reimbursement of their examination fee from the Children’s Commission.

Due to the confidential nature of the application process, verification from TBLS of applicant information is not available. After examination results are published, those who have successfully passed the exam can return to this page to find the reimbursement form and request reimbursement of their exam fee from the Children's Commission.

For more information, please email any questions to Children@txcourts.gov