Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families
Our mission is to strengthen courts for children, youth and families in the Texas child-protection system and thereby improve the safety, permanency, and well-being of children.
The Supreme Court established the Children's Commission in 2007 with the overall goal of improving the child welfare system by increasing public awareness of challenges facing children and families involved in the child welfare system and bringing attention to this important issue through judicial leadership, reforming judicial practice, and informing policy affecting child welfare. The Children's Commission is a leading collaborative partner in most every aspect of child welfare reform in Texas.
The state of Texas is the legal parent to some 30,000 children because of allegations of abuse or neglect. Courts play a critical role in determining their future, because once lawsuits alleging abuse or neglect are filed, courts become the ultimate arbiter of what happens to these children. No child enters or leaves foster care without a court order. A judge decides where the child will live, with whom, and for how long. Every day, Texas courts decide whether a child goes home or to a relative, visits a sibling, or becomes legally free for adoption. Too often, Texas courts lack the resources necessary to make good decisions.
For the 30,000 children in the care of the state, a judge will:
- decide where the child will live, with whom, and for how long;
- decide whether the child will be allowed to see siblings and other family members, how often, and under what circumstances;
- decide whether a child's relationship with his or her parents will be terminated forever.
For more information on the work of the Children's Commission, see the Summary provided to the Texas Senate in the 85th Legislative Session.
The Children's Commission is chaired by Justice Eva Guzman. Members include Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and Child Protective Services (CPS) executive leadership, non-profit foundation and state bar leaders, private attorneys, legislators, judges and other elected officials, and other child welfare stakeholders. (Click here to see a list of members).
The Children's Commission is supported by a a 40-plus-member advisory group called the Collaborative Council. Members include child placing agencies, service providers, parent and child advocates, mental health, education, substance abuse, and immigration experts as well as children's advocacy centers and many other child-protection and child and family advocacy groups.
Four standing committees – Basic Projects, Technology, Training, and Foster Care and Education – oversee issue-specific workgroups and projects. The Commission also directs several other ad hoc committees and workgroups.
For a full Commission list of members, click here.