The Children’s Commission promotes child welfare-related CLE in several ways: in partnership with TexasBarCLE; providing webcasts generated by the Commission; and on-demand CLE from other jurisdictions available at no cost for which the Commission has obtained Texas MCLE credit. Please see below for more information on current MCLE offerings within each of these categories.
On May 20, 2020, the Children's Commission hosted a 90-minute webcast, “Effective Advocacy in the Virtual CPS Courtroom”, designed for all practitioners on the CPS docket to share best practices when preparing cases and clients for a virtual hearing.
Moderated by Hon. Rob Hofmann, Judge of 452nd District Court and Jurist in Residence for the Children’s Commission, the panel discussion includes Dennis Arriaga, Managing Attorney for Region 8, DFPS; Jana Clift-Williams, court-appointed attorney in Caldwell, Comal and Guadalupe Counties; and Ann Marie Smith, court-appointed attorney in Bexar, Comal, Hays, Guadalupe, and Caldwell counties. Topics include how to facilitate the client’s meaningful participation in a virtual hearing; how to properly elicit testimony on Zoom; how to properly enter evidence on Zoom; and how to review orders in a virtual setting.
Recorded Webcast: Effective Advocacy in the Virtual CPS Courtroom
On July 23, 2019, Children's Commission Staff Attorney Dylan Moench presented the 86th Legislative Session Update on CPS-Related Matters. The webcast presentation provided an update on bills and examined in detail, the statutes affected, and the effective date.
The recorded webcast is available below. One hour of MCLE has been approved from the State Bar of Texas.
ABA Teleconference Series: Youth Transitioning from Foster Care to Adulthood
Beginning in September 2016, the American Bar Association Children’s Rights Litigation Section hosted a series of free teleconference programs focused on the issue of youth transitioning from foster care to adulthood. The ABA convened experts from across the country to discuss the various issues in a five-part series called “Assuring a Successful Transition.” Each session provides an in-depth discussion between experts aimed at providing an overview of youth transitioning from care, the role of lawyers and the courts, legal issues facing transitioning youth, transition planning for special populations, and permanency and connections for transitioning youth.
Each replay of the five-part series is 90 minutes totaling 7.5 hours MCLE credit. This MCLE credit is available at no charge, is on-demand, and can be accessed below.
Handouts from each of the replays are available, however, please note that they are state-specific.
To claim MCLE credit, please email email@example.com at the conclusion of the replay.
This program begins the series with panelists providing an overview of the issue including defining transitioning youth and discussion of federal law governing the transitioning youth population. Panelists also discuss how different states have approached extended foster care, the number of youth in care after the age of 18, and general issues surrounding the legal representation of this unique population.
The second program in this series focuses on the legal representation of youth, pre- and post-aging out of care, by examining the role of the attorney, and whether that role changes once the youth turns 18. The panel also discusses the role of the court and the role of the lawyer in transition planning.
The third program in this series focuses on the legal issues facing youth as they prepare to transition from care and how lawyers can help ensure effective transition plans. The panel also discusses overlapping issues such as criminal justice, education, housing, reproductive health, and more. Finally, the issue of training and support needed for lawyers (including pro bono) representing transitioning youth is discussed.
The fourth program in this series focuses on transition planning for special populations including LGBTQ youth, pregnant and parenting youth, and youth with a disability.
The fifth and final program in this series explores youth transitioning from foster care to permanency, and resources available for transitioning youth. Panelists discuss various means of permanency for older youth including adoptions, guardianships, reunification with family, connections to caring adults, and more. Panelists discuss the impact of peer mentors as an effective strategy for ensuring that permanency is prioritized for older youth and that they are actively involved in all aspects of defining and achieving permanency.
In partnership with the State Bar of Texas, the Children's Commission and TexasBarCLE regularly produce and make available live, archived, and accredited online MCLE courses to provide education and training for attorneys who take court-appointed cases or who represent the DFPS on CPS dockets around the state. CPS-related CLE is available in the Online Classroom of TexasBarCLE and include the following:
- Child Abuse & Neglect Workshop from the 2018 Advanced Family Law Conference
- Basic and Advanced Trial Skills in CPS Litigation: Persuade and Prevail
- Preparing Your CPS Case for Trial: Position Yourself to Win
- Moving from Ordinary to Extraordinary Representation in CPS Cases
- Child Protection Legislative Update - 85th Legislative Session
- Thinking Ahead: Dealing with Appeals Issues in CPS Cases
- Effective Representation of Children and Aged Out Foster Youth: Beyond the Basics
- Tips and Traps from Appointment Through Trial: Effective Representation of a Parent in a CPS Case; and
- Special Issues in CPS Parent Representation
These live courses are later archived in the TexasBarCLE Online Classroom. Additional webinars are added periodically while others may rotate off this list as they become outdated.
The TexasBarCLE’s Online Classroom of CPS-related webinars is available at a reduced rate to court-appointed attorneys representing children and/or parents.
For attorneys representing the State of Texas, TexasBarCLE provides scholarships based on financial need. Judges and their full-time staff attorneys can view these offerings for free.
To view the list of MCLE courses offered through TexasBarCLE, please link below to access the TexasBarCLE Online Classroom:
To register for any CLE course, one must be a registered user of the State Bar's website. The account is free and registrants do not have to be a member of the State Bar of Texas.
These offerings available on TexasBarCLE may be considered in some jurisdictions to meet the statutory three-hour education requirements in Texas Family Code Sections 107.004 and 107.0131 for attorneys to qualify for court appointments on child protection dockets or to qualify to remain on a court-appointed list.
Additionally, the TexasBarCLE Online Library offers reports and written materials only, which is not accredited MCLE.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you should have any questions.
Following the Trauma-Informed Care survey and report issued last year, Texas CASA, the Texas Children's Commission and the Shield Ayers Foundation partnered to create a 1-hour session to help Attorneys ad Litem, Guardians ad Litem and CASA volunteers advocate for children in a trauma-informed way. The presentation includes strategies for advocating for children in courtrooms, schools and placements to meet each child’s unique needs. There is also discussion about how trauma influences a child’s ability to communicate about the case and how to appropriately respond to trauma-related behaviors.
This training was recorded in front of a live audience at the Travis County Courthouse September 27, 2016, and was accredited with the State Bar of Texas.
One-hour of MCLE credit is available for this on-demand video presentation which can be accessed below. To claim MCLE credit, please email email@example.com for more information.
PowerPoint Presentation: Trauma-Informed Advocacy