In late Spring 2019, the Children’s Commission will offer scholarships for qualifying judges to both the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges’ (NCJFCJ) 82nd Annual Conference in July 2019 and the National Association of Counsel for Children’s (NACC) 42nd Annual Conference and Red Book Training in August 2019.

Please see below for the scholarship criteria for upcoming conferences. Please note that the purpose of the post-conference surveys mentioned below is to inform future educational opportunities. 

The Advanced Family Law Course offers a day-long Child Abuse and Neglect Workshop each year during the annual State Bar of Texas Advanced Family Law Course. This one-day training covers current topics of interest to Texas judges who hear child welfare cases and Texas attorneys who practice on the CPS docket.

This year’s live State Bar of Texas Child Abuse and Neglect One-Day Track will be held on August 14, 2019, in San Antonio, with video replays available thereafter in other major Texas cities. 

More information on the live CLE and replay dates will be available on the State Bar’s website: http://www.texasbarcle.com/CLE/Home.asp 

The registration fee is waived for Texas judges by Texas Bar CLE. Judges wishing to attend the 2019 Child Abuse and Neglect Track should contact Texas Bar CLE directly. 

The Children’s Commission offers financial support to those attorneys and judges seeking certification as a National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) Child Welfare Legal Specialist (CWLS) by way of a reimbursement scholarship for their application fee or exam fee for those applicants who successfully pass their CWLS exam.  The scholarship is funded by the Children’s Commission and administered by the NACC. Texas attorneys and judges interested in becoming CWLS certified will pay their CWLS application fee and exam fee to NACC. The NACC will issue scholarship reimbursements directly to Texas attorneys and judges after they successfully complete the exam and receive certification. A discount is also available for those current CWLS who choose to recertify.

Please note the following details regarding CWLS certification:

  1. Judges who applied prior to January 1, 2018, are eligible for the $350 exam fee reimbursement OR the $300 application fee reimbursement once awarded certification.
    • For those attorneys who applied prior to 2018 and paid the application fee but received a scholarship from NACC or a source other than the Children's Commission to cover the $350 exam fee, Children's Commission funding can reimburse the $300 application fee once certification has been awarded.
    • For those attorneys who applied prior to 2018 and paid the exam fee but received a scholarship from NACC or a source other than the Children's Commission to cover the $300 application fee, Children's Commission funding can reimburse the $350 exam fee once certification has been awarded.
  2. Judges who applied between January 1, 2018, and September 30, 2019, and are certified by September 30, 2019, are eligible to be reimbursed 75% of their CWLS combined application fee once awarded certification.

Please note the following details regarding CWLS recertification: Recertification is required every five years. The recertification process is identical to the initial application process, minus the writing sample and exam. Texas attorneys and judges who are re-certified by September 30, 2019, are eligible to be reimbursed 60% of their recertification fee.

*Note: The application period for the Spring 2019 NACC Red Book Online Training Course is now closed

The NACC Red Book Online Training Course is designed to cover the fundamentals of NACC’s legal treatise, Child Welfare Law and Practice, 3rd Edition (aka the Red Book) in a convenient and accessible format. This course will assist with preparations for those seeking certification as a Child Welfare Law Specialist (CWLS) as well as provide a useful and practical child welfare law course covering material relevant to child, parent, and agency attorneys as well as judicial officers.  More information on the course is available on the NACC website at https://www.naccchildlaw.org/
page/RedBookTrainingCourse
.

Dates and Locations:

The Spring 2019 NACC Red Book Online Training Course will consist of seven, 60-to-90-minute webinars delivered live between March 13, 2019, and June 5, 2019. Each session is delivered with opportunities for questions and interaction and is also recorded and available on-demand for viewing at the participant’s convenience throughout the course.

Scholarship Criteria:

The Children’s Commission will provide scholarships to thirty qualified attorneys and judges in the form of waived registration fees for the Spring 2019 NACC Red Book Online Training Course.

To be eligible for a scholarship, judges must hear child welfare cases, with preference given to judges who hear higher percentages of these kinds of cases. Awardees must complete a post-conference survey from the Commission in order for their reimbursement request to be processed.

The Children’s Commission will be providing scholarships to this Red Book Online Training course on a first-come, first-served basis until all 30 spots are filled. Early applications are strongly encouraged.

To complete the scholarship application, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JudicialAppRBTOnline.  

Please note, this scholarship application will close at midnight on Friday, February 15, 2019.

The 2019 NACC Conference will be held on August 26-28, 2019 in Anaheim, California, with a pre-conference Red Book Training held at the same venue on August 25th.

The main conference typically includes tracks on child welfare, juvenile justice, and family law issues.  The pre-conference Red Book Training prepares attendees for the NACC’s Child Welfare Law Specialist exam but may also be of interest to those judges wanting an overview of federal issues in child welfare law. The NACC’s goal is to improve the lives of children and families through high-quality legal representation and other forms of advocacy, by offering a child welfare law certification process accredited by the American Bar Association, training and technical assistance to child law attorneys and other child welfare professionals, and engaging in public policy and legislative advocacy aimed at improving the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.   

More information on from the Children’s Commission to attend the 2019 NACC Annual Conference will be announced in late Spring 2019.

The NCJFCJ 82nd Annual Conference will be held on July 28-31, 2019 in Orlando, Florida. The mission of the NCJFCJ’s Annual Conference is to provide cutting-edge information and tools to juvenile and family courts to support their efforts to improve case processing and outcomes for children, youth, and families.

The Children’s Commission through its conference partner, Texas Center for the Judiciary, will offer 25 judicial scholarships to the NCJFCJ’s 82nd Annual Conference.  More information on scholarships from the Children’s Commission to attend the 2019 NCJFCJ Annual Conference will be announced in late Spring 2019.

Details about the conference are available on the NCJFCJ website at https://www.ncjfcj.org/82nd-annual-conference.

The 2019 applications for Child Welfare Law Specialization are now available online until April 30, 2019, 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 2019 of the TBLS decision to admit them to take the Exam, and the Exam will be held on October 14, 2019, 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 Law Specialization 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 the 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

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 complete and return the reimbursement form and request reimbursement of their exam fee from the Children's Commission.

TBLS Exam Fee Reimbursement Request Form

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