The Children's Commission regularly offers scholarships to qualifying attorneys to attend state and national conferences. Scholarships typically reimburse attorneys for conference registration fees, and occasionally, travel-related expenses.

Generally, to meet the criteria for all scholarships, the applicant must:

  • be currently representing DFPS or taking appointments on a CPS docket;
  • be in good standing with the State Bar of Texas;
  • be in good standing with their appointing or presiding judge; and
  • commit to completing a post-event survey from the Children’s Commission, in addition to the pre-event survey portion contained in the Commission scholarship application of their choice.

Preference may be given to attorneys who have not received scholarships from the Children’s Commission in the past 1-2 years. Other considerations include, but are not limited to, geographic diversity of scholarship recipients and whether the applicant has support from his or her presiding or appointing judge.

For all scholarships, the Children's Commission determines scholarship criteria and deploys an application process that includes pre- and post-conference evaluations to identify or confirm the knowledge gained from the training, new practices which awardees plan to implement, and/or a current practice which they plan to change. Surveys also inquire about additional topics of interest to help inform planning for future training.

Please visit the sections below for more information on state and national conferences in child welfare. Please note, the Children’s Commission may not offer scholarships to every training listed.

The 3rd Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course will be held at the Hilton Houston Post Oak by the Galleria, 2001 Post Oak Boulevard, Houston, TX 77056 on March 26-27, 2020.

For more information, please visit the Child Protection Law Section web page

The Center on Children and the Law hosts two national conferences every other year. The National Conference on Children and the Law and the National Parent Attorney Conference bring together experienced child and parent attorneys, foster alumni, parents, judges, child welfare agency representatives, and other key stakeholders to receive not only substantive training, but also tips for returning to their home states to work on ways to improve the quality of legal representation for children and parents.

The Center’s next National Conferences will be held in 2021. For more information, please visit the ABA National Conferences web page.

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

This year’s live State Bar of Texas Child Abuse and Neglect one-day Workshop will be held on August 5, 2020, in San Antonio, with video replays available in other major Texas cities. More information on the live CLE and replay dates will be available on the State Bar’s website.

More information on scholarships from the Children’s Commission to attend the 2020 one-day Workshop will be announced in late Spring 2020. Please check back here for more information about the scholarship and a link to the application.

This one-day pre-conference training and the subsequent three-day training will convene a national community of multidisciplinary advocates for children, youth, and families and will cover a wide variety of topics. The Red Book Training course covers the major dependency competency areas based upon the NACC’s 3rd Edition of the Child Welfare Law & Practice guide (known as the “The Red Book”) and prepares attendees for the NACC Child Welfare Law Specialist certification exam. The Red Book training may be relevant for Texas attorneys who would like to learn more about federal laws related to child welfare issues, without regard to their possible interest in the NACC’s Child Welfare Law Specialization Exam.

The NACC’s 43rd National Child Welfare Law Conference is scheduled for August 24-26, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. The pre-conference Red Book Training course is scheduled for August 23, 2020. Please visit the NACC website for more information.

More information on scholarships from the Children’s Commission to attend the 2020 NACC Annual Conference and/or Red Book Training Pre-Conference will be announced in late Spring 2020. Please check back here for more information about the scholarship and a link to the application.

Attorney Scholarships for State and National Certifications

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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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.

For more information, please visit the Texas Board of Specialization web page.