Other Training Opportunities
The Children's Commission supports a number of additional training opportunities including the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS), NACC Child Welfare Legal Specialization (CWLS), and is a MCLE Sponsor through the State Bar of Texas. Also, the Commission provides funding for the following training endeavors.
The Child Protection Law Section was approved by the State Bar of Texas in January 2018. In April of 2018, the Section hosted a 2-day MCLE entitled “First Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course.” The Children’s Commission supported this CLE by providing funds for 50 scholarships; a post-event survey indicated that the CLE content was well-received. In March 2019, the Section will host its Second Annual Advanced Child Protection Law Course, and the Commission will support this CLE by providing a grant of up to $10,000 to defray the costs of the CLE. A post-event survey will be disseminated by the Section to all attendees per the condition of the grant.
Keeping Infants and Toddlers Safe (KITS) Conference The Keeping Infants and Toddlers Safe (KITS) conference is held in Houston each year. In past years, the Children's Commission provided funding for a multi-disciplinary child abuse and neglect track which included content for attorneys representing children, parents, and DFPS, and child welfare professionals.
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 are 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 and 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 TexasCASA web page.
The Children's Commission provides funding to support the Department of Family and Protective Services Regional Attorneys annual training for costs such as speaker fees, facility fees and other expenses related to the meeting. The objective is to ensure agency attorneys have access to current case law, trial strategies, evidentiary issues, forensic developments, administrative law, ethics and other relevant procedural and substantive issues.
The 2018 meeting was attended by approximately 100 attorneys and staff who provide legal representation to the State of Texas in approximately half the counties in the state. The 2018 Regional Attorney Conference, which included DFPS Legal Assistants, was held on November 13-14, 2018 at TBarM in New Braunfels. 97 attorneys attended, along with 75 Legal Assistants. Attendees were educated on current legal issues, DFPS policy, and evidentiary matters. The pre-conference Trial Skills training was held on November 12th, 2018 and was attended by 17 attorneys.
A survey was conducted after the training was complete and the responses indicated a high measure of satisfaction with the training.
The next Regional Attorney Conference will be in October 2019 in San Marcos, Texas.