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Judicial Conferences

The Children’s Commission provides high-quality trainings and conferences that encourage judicial leadership both within the courtroom and in the broader child welfare community, with the goal of promoting best practices to improve outcomes and establish and maintain a well-informed judiciary. Please see below for recent and upcoming judicial conferences hosted by the Children’s Commission. For questions regarding these judicial conferences, please email

The Children’s Commission, in partnership with the Texas Center for the Judiciary (TCJ) hosted the 16th Annual Child Welfare Judges Conference (CWJC) on October 23-25, 2023. A pre-conference training was held on the opening day of the conference, and was followed by the full conference. Registration was limited to judges who handle civil child welfare cases. 

The pre-conference training, entitled “Assessing and Addressing Children’s Well-being, From Infants to Young Adults,” focused on child development, resources, and issues such as education, mental health, building protective factors against trafficking, and normalcy across three age groups: infants and toddlers, middle school aged children, and teens and older youth.  

The full conference curriculum provided 16.5 CJE, 1.0 ethics hours, and 15.5 FV hours.  Presentations included a Keynote Address from Dr. Scott LePor, Medical Director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department titled “Foundation of the Trauma-Responsive Model,” as well as an update from the Office of Court Administration; a presentation on appellate issues; a legislative update; a panel on supporting kinship placements; a panel on youth-centered approaches to meeting the needs of commercially sexually exploited youth; an interactive session on understanding the social determinants of health; an update on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and related best practices; a presentation from the DFPS leadership team; an interactive session on the Child and Family Services Review (CFSR); a panel on options for older youth; a panel on supporting parents in the child welfare system from prevention through reinstatement; and a panel recognizing judicial leadership and innovation. Additionally, Regional Breakouts were convened with DFPS and Single Source Continuum Contractors (SSCC) staff.     

The 2024 CWJC is scheduled for October 21-23, 2024. Please return to this page for updates. 

Child Protection Courts, also known as CPCs, were created to specialize in managing child abuse and neglect dockets. Like the child support court associate judges, these associate judges are appointed by their regional presiding judges and are OCA employees. CPC judges hear child welfare cases exclusively. The goal for CPC dockets is to help children and families achieve safety, permanency, and well-being in a timely manner. The Children’s Commission provides funding for the Child Protection Court Management System (CPCMS), as well as training and other support for CPC judges and court coordinators to conduct hearings and manage cases. There are currently 30 CPCs and these courts hear child welfare cases in 148 Texas counties.   

The biennial Child Protection Court Convening was held in partnership with the Office of Court Administration on July 27-28, 2023.  The curriculum provided 9.25 CJE, .5 ethics hours, and 9.25 FV hours.  The conference featured a Keynote Address from Jenny Gomez, LPC-S, KoonsFuller Family Law, on Strategies for Managing Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Trauma, and Self-Care. Additional presentations were a “state of the state” update from the Office of Court Administration; a legislative update; a case law update; a presentation on immigration and Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) issues in child welfare law; updates on three pilots in CPC Courts (Early Intervention Court Liaisons, Texas Family First Pilots, and the Dual Status Pilots); a presentation on how to access available STAR Health therapeutic services for children; a panel of presiding judges; and moderated discussion groups for the CPC judges and for the CPC Court Coordinators.  Additionally, the Convening featured a conversation with Casey Family Program Speakers Judge Ernestine Gray and Judge Robin Sage on judicial ethics and reducing the number of children in care.   

The 2025 Child Protection Court Convening dates are pending; please return to this page for updates. 

This annual Texas Center for the Judiciary conference was held on January 18 - 19, 2024. The Children’s Commission provided three breakout sessions on child welfare to an audience of general jurisdiction judges on the afternoon of Thursday, January 18th. These Court Improvement Program Breakout Track topics and speakers were as follows: “Managing the Courtroom While Maintaining the Best Interest of Youth When Caregivers Appear with Untreated Mental Health Needs,” presented by the Honorable Aurora Martinez Jones, Judge of the 126th Judicial District Court, and Dr. Richard Yuen, Forensic Psychologist; “Impact of New Reasonable Efforts Legislation: What Judges Need to Know,” presented by the Honorable Melissa DeGerolami, Judge of the Child Protection Court of South Central Texas, and the Honorable John Eck, Judge of the Tarrant County Child Protection Court No.; and “Staying in the Game: Strategies for Managing Compassion Fatigue, Secondary Trauma, and Self-Care,” presented by Jenny Gomez, LPC-S, Koons-Fuller Family Law, Dallas.