The Children’s Commission promotes child welfare-related CLE in several ways: by providing webcasts generated by the Commission; by producing child welfare law-related CLE in partnership with TexasBarCLE; and by obtaining Texas Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) and Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS) credit for continuing legal education both in Texas and occasionally from other jurisdictions and offering these “on demand” on the Commission website at no cost. Some of these CLE courses may also be eligible for TBLS hours and/or Family Violence credit hours (the latter is only applicable for judges).
These offerings 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. These offerings may be considered to meet the new statutorily required trauma-informed training hours. The determination of whether a MCLE offering meets the requirements to receive appointments and/or to qualify to remain on a court-appointment list to represent children and/or parents in child welfare cases is at the discretion of the appointing judge.
Please navigate below for more information on current MCLE offerings.
On May 17, 2022, the Children’s Commission hosted a virtual presentation designed for judges and attorneys entitled “Overview of Qualified Residential Treatment Program Legal Requirements.”
Children’s Commission Executive Director, Jamie Bernstein, Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Qualified Residential Treatment Program (QRTP) Lead, Texas Flowers-Moffett, and DFPS QRTP Specialist, Tiffani Tillman provided an overview of the QRTP model, the QRTP placement review process, and the required legal findings that must be made in court in relation to QRTP placements. Additionally, a sample case scenario was discussed to provide practical information to participants.
The recorded webcast was approved for 1.0 hour of MCLE credit. The video replay, accompanying PowerPoint presentation, QRTP Referral Example, and responses to the questions posed in the live broadcast are now available below.
MCLE Information for Self-Reporting
Attorneys seeking MCLE credit hours may contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recording to receive information on how to self-report their MCLE to the State Bar of Texas.
On March 8, 2022, the Children’s Commission presented a 75-minute webcast entitled “Child Welfare Case Primer: Statutory Hearings and Current Issues.” The Honorable Rob Hofmann, Judge of the 452nd District Court and Children’s Commission’s Senior Jurist in Residence, provided a summary of the nuts and bolts of a child welfare case from investigations through various final outcomes. The presentation included a review of statutory requirements, including recent legislative changes, and current issues including dual status youth and placement. Best practices and practical tips for achieving positive permanency for children and engaging families and youth in the court process were also provided.
The recorded webcast was approved for 1.25 hours of MCLE and 1.25 hours of Family Violence training credit. The video replay and accompanying PowerPoint presentation are now available below.
- PowerPoint: Child Welfare Case Primer: Statutory Hearings and Current Issues
- Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book and Bench Cards
MCLE Information for Self-Reporting
Attorneys seeking MCLE and/or Family Violence credit hours may contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recording.
On Thursday, January 20, 2022, the Children’s Commission’s Judicial Workgroup on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) presented a free, 1.5-hour webcast entitled “The Texas Response to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.” Panelists from the Office of the Texas Governor, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, the Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services, Texas CASA, and Texas Juvenile Justice Department provided insight into their efforts to prevent, identify, and support children at risk and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.
The recorded webcast, accompanying PowerPoint presentation, and handouts are available below. Attorneys and judges seeking MCLE and judges seeking Family Violence credit hours for this MCLE may contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recording.
This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the following specialty fields: Child Welfare Law (1.5 hrs.), Criminal Law (1.5 hrs.), Family Law (1.5 hrs.), and Juvenile Law (1.5 hrs.).
The Children’s Commission’s 87th Texas Regular Legislative Session Update on CPS-Related Matters was presented live on July 22, 2021, via webcast. Executive Director Jamie Bernstein, Legal Representation Director Dylan Moench, and Staff Attorney Aimee Corbin provided the update on bills affecting child welfare law passed during the legislative session, the statutes affected, and the effective date.
The recorded webcast, accompanying PowerPoint presentation, and related 87th Texas Regular Legislative Session Report are available below. For attorneys and judges seeking MCLE credit, please contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recordings. This webcast is approved for 2 hours of MCLE, with 0.25 hours of ethics.
This first of its kind virtual Texas Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Summit provides the judicial and legal communities, caseworkers, and other child welfare stakeholders with in-depth training on the history of ICWA, critical legal components of ICWA, related case law updates, and the important impact of ICWA for Tribal communities.
Presented live on January 22, 2021, the Summit was hosted by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, and Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, in partnership with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Supreme Court of Texas Children’s Commission.
Video replays and conference materials can be accessed on the Texas ICWA Summit webpage.
The Judicial Trauma Institute was presented live on April 22-23, 2021 via webcast. The content was designed by Commission staff in partnership with the Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care (SCTIC) Training Workgroup and hosted by the Texas Center for the Judiciary. The goal of the conference was for judicial teams to gain information and discover practical tools and resources about how to become a trauma-informed and trauma-responsive court in CPS cases. Video replays and conference materials can be accessed on the Judicial Trauma Institute webpage.
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 child welfare dockets around the state. Child welfare-related CLE is available in the Child Welfare Practice Area in the TexasBarCLE Online Classroom and includes the following courses:
- Basic and Advanced Trial Skills in CPS Litigation: Persuade and Prevail
- Building Better Youth Outcomes: The Importance of Being Trauma Informed
- Essentials of Child Representation in CPS Cases: Ethics and Best Practices for AALs
- Essentials of Parent Representation in CPS Cases: Ethics and Best Practices for Attorneys Representing Parents
- Mediation as a Tool for Family Reunification
- Preparing Your CPS Case for Trial: Position Yourself to Win Special Issues in CPS Parent Representation
- Thinking Ahead: Dealing with Appeals Issues in CPS Cases; and
- Tips and Traps from Appointment Through Trial: Effective Representation of a Parent in a CPS Case
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 Child Welfare Practice Area: 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 in the Child Welfare Practice area of TexasBarCLE’s Online Classroom may be considered in some jurisdictions to meet the statutory three-hour continuing legal education requirements and/or trauma-informed training requirements set forth 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. The determination of whether a MCLE offering meets the requirements to receive appointments and/or to qualify to remain on a court-appointment list to represent children and/or parents in child welfare cases is at the discretion of the appointing judge.
Additionally, the TexasBarCLE Online Library offers reports and written materials.
Please email CCTraining@txcourts.gov if you should have any questions.
On May 22, 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.
Recording: Effective Advocacy in the Virtual CPS Courtroom.
*Please note that MCLE is no longer offered for this webcast.