The Children's Commission has developed a number of judicial education and training efforts including webcasts ("in-house" and with TexasBarCLE) and annual conferences.
Please visit the Reports & Resources page for a list of available Presentations from Past Judicial Summits & Conferences.
Below is a description of current webcast offerings produced by the Children's Commission:
On June 5, 2020, the Children's Commission hosted a one-hour webcast, “Benefits of Utilizing Technology in Child Welfare Cases,” designed for judges who preside over the CPS docket.
Moderated by Hon. Rob Hofmann, Judge of 452nd District Court and Jurist in Residence for the Children’s Commission, the panel discussion includes five judges who share their experiences with virtual child welfare hearings and related silver linings. Topics include how to manage dockets and find an interpreter; greater child and parent engagement; the advantages of virtual mediation; an increase in attorney participation and preparation; and the benefits of increased frequency of family time (also known as visitation). Viewers will also learn about how all of these technological benefits can be used to advance permanency for children in care.
Panelists are Hon. Melissa DeGerolami, Associate Judge of the Child Protection Court of South Central Texas; Hon. Delia Gonzales, Associate Judge of the Child Protection and Permanency Court in Dallas County; Hon. Thomas Stuckey, Associate Judge of the Centex Child Protection Court South; Hon. Angela Graves-Harrington, District Judge of the 246th Family Court in Harris County; and Hon. Carlos Villalon Jr., Associate Judge for the Child Protection Court of the Rio Grande Valley West.
One MCLE credit hour for the webcast replay is available. The recorded webcast is linked below.
To claim MCLE credit, please email CCTraining@txcourts.gov at the conclusion of the replay.
Texas judges can receive MCLE credit at no charge for programs put on by the State Bar of Texas' CLE branch, TexasBarCLE, including the Advanced Family Law’s Child Abuse and Neglect CLE (in August of every year). For more information on how to receive free MCLE credit from TexasBarCLE, please contact the State Bar of Texas. Judges can also view trainings produced by the Children’s Commission in partnership with TexasBarCLE with CPS-related CLE content (select the Child Welfare Practice Area from the list) at TexasBarCLE.com.
Each year, the Children's Commission coordinates and hosts the Child Welfare Judges Conference (CWJC) through the Commission's grant with the Texas Center for the Judiciary (TCJ). TCJ specializes in judicial education and training opportunities for active, retired, and former Texas appellate, district and county court at law judges, as well as associate judges and court personnel.
he 14th Annual Child Welfare Judges Conference will be on October 25-27, 2021.
Continuing Judicial Education credits and Family Violence credits will be available for the CWJC. There is no registration fee. This webpage will be updated with more information regarding the October 2021 CWJC in the Spring of 2021.
Judges wishing to see the 13th Annual Child Welfare Conference’s virtual offerings from October 27, 2020 may register through the Texas Center for the Judiciary to do so. Recordings of these presentations will be available for a year following the date of the live virtual event.
In addition to the annual Child Welfare Judges Conference, the Children's Commission sponsors a half-day track at the annual Family Justice Conference hosted by the Texas Center for the Judiciary in January of each year. The 2021 conference was held virtually by Texas Center for the Judiciary on January 14th. The three presentations and speakers were:
- Going Upstream: The Legal Community’s Role in Prevention (Judge Robin Sage, Casey Family Foundation);
- Reasonable Efforts in Removal Decisions: What Judges Need to Know (Judge Thomas Stuckey, Associate Judge of the Centex Child Protection Court South and Ms. Katie Drummond, Assistant District Attorney, Travis County); and
- Promoting Positive Permanency Through All Stages of a CPS Case (Judge Angela Graves-Harrington, Judge of the 246th Family District Court of Harris County).
Judges wishing to view these presentations may register through the Texas Center for the Judiciary to do so. Recordings of these presentations will be available for a year following the date of the live virtual event.
Please look for announcements regarding the next conference from the Texas Center for the Judiciary or through the Children’s Commission’s Jurist in Residence letters.
Based on a strong, ongoing interest in trauma-informed training indicated by judges, Commission staff designed and planned to host a Judicial Trauma Institute in partnership with the Texas Center for the Judiciary to meet this need. Judicial teams were composed by judges who invited the following members from their jurisdictions: a court coordinator; a prosecutor; an attorney who takes appointments for parents and for children in CPS cases; a Senior-level Caseworker or Supervisor at DFPS; and a CASA Executive Director or Program Director. The conference was rescheduled from March 2020 to February 17-18, 2021. The content was developed by the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma Informed Care (SCTIC) Training Workgroup in partnership with Commission Staff. The modified JTI was comprised of lectures and panels, with judges choosing to convene their court teams outside of the conference, at their convenience. The goal of the conference was for judicial teams to gain information and learn about practical tools and resources about what it means to be a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive court in CPS cases in order to implement these gains in knowledge in their jurisdiction. The virtual format allows the Commission to offer the JTI to more attendees than would have been possible at an in-person training, and to archive the content in a way that allows it to be shared more widely and over a longer period of time. Unfortunately, the event had to be postponed again due to inclement weather conditions and accompanying power outages. The Commission plans to host the virtual event on April 22 & 23, 2021. Commission staff is working with our conference partner, TCJ, to produce this training virtually. Individual judges may still sign up through the Texas Center for the Judiciary. Recordings of the content will be available to the registrants for at least a year after this conference is presented live. The content is being designed by the Commission’s SCTIC Training Workgroup.
Child Protection Courts, also known as CPCs, were created to assist trial courts in rural areas with managing their child abuse and neglect dockets. Like the child support court associate judges, these associate judges are appointed by their regional presiding judges and are OCA employees. At the discretion of the presiding judge, visiting judges are sometimes appointed to hear these cases instead of associate judges. The judges assigned to these dockets hear child abuse and neglect cases exclusively. With this exclusive focus, children on CPC dockets can achieve permanency more quickly and the quality of placement decisions should be higher. There are currently 30 child protection courts operating in Texas. The Children’s Commission provides funding to support CPCMS as well as other goods and services required by CPC judges and coordinators to conduct hearings and manage cases.
Based on the success of the July 2019 CPC Convening at which CPC Judges and their court coordinators were trained on court management and data collection by the Commission in partnership with OCA, the Commission plans to host a similar CPC convening in late July 2021, in a virtual format. A curriculum committee comprised of Commission staff, JIRs, CPC judges, and OCA staff will convene to request and review the CPC judges’ input on the structure and the content of the conference curriculum. This webpage will be updated in Spring 2021 with information about the exact dates of the CPC Convening.