The Children's Commission has developed a number of judicial education trainings to meet Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit required by the State Bar of Texas. Texas judges qualify in receiving MCLE credit at no charge for programs put on by the State Bar of Texas' CLE branch, Texas Bar CLE. For more information on how to receive MCLE credit at no charge, please contact the State Bar of Texas. Found below is a description of current program offerings.
Please visit the Reports & Resources page for a list of available Presentations from Past Judicial Summits & Conferences
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 on 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 firstname.lastname@example.org at the conclusion of the replay.
Each year, the Children's Commission plans the Child Welfare Judges Conference (CWJC) through the Commission's grant with the Texas Center for the Judiciary. 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.
The 12th Annual Child Welfare Judges Conference will be on October 21-23, 2019 at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol in Austin, Texas. Registration is now open and is limited to judges handling child welfare cases. On October 21st, a pre-conference event designed primarily for judges who have been on the bench less than a year, and General Jurisdiction judges who handle multiple matters, will focus on Education, Transitioning Youth, and Placement and Permanency issues with an emphasis on basic trauma-informed practices and ways to avoid re-traumatizing children in care.
The pre-conference will offer three hours of Continuing Judicial Education (CJE) and three hours of Family Violence (FV) credits. 12 hours of CJE credits and 5 FV credits will be available for the CWJC. There is no registration fee.
To register, please visit TCJ's website.
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 2018 conference was held January 22-23 in Bastrop. 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.
The Children's Commission supports a number of additional trainings and is a MCLE Sponsor through the State Bar of Texas.
The State Bar of Texas’ Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Committee supports legal and public education to improve professionalism and to ameliorate child abuse and neglect.
The CAN Committee’s stated purpose is to study and evaluate child abuse and neglect issues; define the legal profession's role in working to ameliorate the problem; mobilize the legal profession in the fight against child abuse and neglect through legal education and professional development; educate the public about legal and social problems relating to abuse and neglect of children; and to serve as a resource and forum for discussion of proposed legislation relating to child abuse and neglect.
The Committee supported the creation of a Child Welfare Law Specialty as proposed and developed by the Children’s Commission, and members of the Committee also served in various capacities in the development of the new specialty. The Supreme Court approved the creation of the new specialty on February 14, 2017. A CAN subcommittee has been formed to explore creating a Child Welfare Law Section when the new specialty is fully implemented.
The CAN Committee develops and presents the annual one-day Child Abuse and Neglect Workshop at the Advanced Family Law Course. The Committee also provides assistance to annual interdisciplinary training, the Keeping Infants and Toddlers Safe Conference (KITS) each summer.
After the success of the five-year federally funded Diligent Recruitment project, Texas CASA approached the 84th Legislature and was appropriated funding for a two-year Family Finding collaboration between CASA and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). CFE is an integrated or embedded approach that establishes a true team between CASA and CPS to work together to complete the steps of Family Finding. CFE Pilot programs in the following areas:
- CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County / Conroe, Serving Montgomery County
- CASA of Brazos Valley / Voices for Children, Serving Bryan
- CASA of Coastal Bend / Corpus Christi, Serving Nueces County
- CASA for the Cross Timbers Area, Serving Stephenville
- CASA of Central Texas, Serving New Braunfels
- CASA of Collin County, Serving McKinney
- CASA of El Paso, Serving El Paso
- CASA of Hidalgo County / Edinburg, Serving Hidalgo County
- CASA of Hood & Somervell Counties / Granbury, Serving Hood, Somervell Counties
- CASA-Hope for Children / Weatherford, Serving Palo Pinto and Parker Counties
- CASA of Johnson County / Cleburne, Serving Johnson County
- CASA of Liberty / Chambers Counties / Liberty, Serving Chambers and Liberty Counties
- CASA of Navarro County, Serving Corsicana
- CASA of North Texas, Serving Gainesville
- CASA of Tarrant County / Ft. Worth, Serving Tarrant County
- CASA of West Texas, Serving Midland
- CASA of Williamson County, Serving Georgetown
- Golden Crescent CASA, Serving Victoria
- CASA of Brazos Valley / Voices for Children, Serving Bryan
- Child Advocates of Fort Bend / Richmond, Serving Fort Bend County
Added in FY2019:
- Bluebonnet CASA / Mason
- CASA of South Texas / Pleasanton
- CASA of the Permian Basin Area, Inc. / Odessa
- CASA of the Pines / Lufkin
- CASA of Wise & Jack Counties / Decatur
- Child Advocates CASA of Red River / Wichita Falls
- Child Advocates Inc. / Houston
- Children's Advocacy Center of Tom Green County / San Angelo
- Dallas CASA / Dallas
- Gulf Coast CASA / Bay City
- Lone Star CASA / Rockwall
For more on Collaborative Family Engagement, please visit the Texas CASA web page.
The Texas Center for the Judiciary is a nonprofit organization that provides specialized 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. The Texas Center is designated by the Court of Criminal Appeals as the official registrar of continuing judicial education. The mission of the Texas Center, Judicial Excellence Through Education, is exemplified by providing strong leadership in education and training so that a qualified and knowledgeable judiciary and staff may administer justice with fairness, efficiency, and integrity.
The Children's Commission partners with TCJ as the administrator of the annual Child Welfare Judges Conference (CWJC) and other trainings in child welfare.