The Children's Commission maintains a Bench Book that outlines the state and federal statutory requirements for judges handling child protection cases, including topical sections and checklists. The Bench Book includes tips and best and promising practices, as well as statutory citations which are maintained and connected to an online resource. It is updated annually with new information, as needed; the next update will occur after the 85th Legislative Session concludes. The Bench Book is disseminated at the Commission’s annual Child Welfare Judicial Conference, Annual College for New Judges, and upon request.

The online version of the Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book is available by desktop at the link below; for mobile users, the Bench Book is available through the LawBox application. 

If you are a Texas judge responsible for hearing CPS cases and interested in receiving a hardbound copy of the Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book, please contact the Children's Commission at children@txcourts.gov.

Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book 

Bench Book 2015

Bench Cards

In 2015, the Children's Commission introduced Bench Cards, which are abbreviated reference cards on specific hearing types and subject matter for quick reference. An extended long version of the Bench Cards complete with Family Code citations is also available below. 

Extended Checklist Bench Cards (Combined)

At a Glance

Adversary Hearing

Status Hearing 

Permanency Hearing Before Final Order

Final Hearing

Permanency Hearing After Final Order

Education

ICWA

Medical and Mental Health Care

Human Trafficking

Disproportionality: Bench Card to Reduce or Eliminate Disproportionality, NCJFCJ Courts Catalyzing Change (CCC)