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On-Demand Training and MCLE

Please navigate below for more information on training and CLE offerings. For assistance regarding training related matters, including CLE self-report information, please contact CCtraining@txcourts.gov.

Webinars

The Children’s Commission promotes child welfare-related legal education by providing online CLE content generated by the Commission; by producing child welfare law-related CLE in partnership with various stakeholders, including 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. These CLEs are offered “on demand” on the Commission website at no cost for judges and attorneys. Some of these CLE courses may also be eligible for Family Violence credit hours (the latter is only applicable for judges). These offerings may also 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 also be considered to meet statutorily required trauma-informed training hours. The determination of whether a CLE offering meets the trauma-informed training requirements or 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 CLE offerings. For assistance regarding training related matters, including CLE self-report information, please contact CCtraining@txcourts.gov.

Upcoming Webinars:
Previous Webinars

Handling Your First Child Welfare Appeal

On June 26, 2024, the Children's Commission hosted a live webinar entitled "Handling Your First Child Welfare Appeal."

During this one-hour webinar, Michael Hull of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Appellate Unit and Karen Langsley of Langsley Mills Law will discuss what to look for when reviewing a court record, key elements of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, and what to focus on when drafting a petition.

Recording: Handling Your First Child Welfare Appeal

Powerpoint: Handling Your First Child Welfare Appeal

MCLE Information: The webinar was approved for 1.0 hour of MCLE credit. Attorneys and judges 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. 

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.0 hour certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty fields of Child Welfare Law and Family Law. 

On May 7, 2024, the Children's Commission hosted a live webinar entitled "Filing For Mandamus in Child Welfare Cases."

This presentation focused on what temporary orders in child welfare cases may be reviewed by appellate courts. Justice Julie Countiss of the First Court of Appeals and attorney William B. “Bill” Connolly of Connolly, Schneider, and Shireman, discussed the types of temporary orders in child welfare cases that are subject to mandamus review, the process for a mandamus petition, and notable precedent resulting from mandamus review.

Recording: Filing for Mandamus in Child Welfare Cases

Additional Resources:

PowerPoint: Filing for Mandamus in Child Welfare Proceedings

MCLE Information: The webinar was approved for 1.0 hour of MCLE credit. Attorneys and judges 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. 

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.0 hour certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty fields of Child Welfare Law and Family Law. 

On April 24, 2024, the Children's Commission hosted a live webinar entitled "Representing Older Youth in Care."

Hon. Katrina Griffith, Associate Judge of the Harris County Child Protection Court, and Sarah Worthington, Director of the Texas Foster Youth Justice Project at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid discussed how to address the unique needs and interests of older youth in foster care, such as navigating issues with identification documents, connecting youth to benefits and educational opportunities, and supporting youth with disabilities.

Recording: Representing Older Youth in Care

Additional Resources

PowerPoint: Representing Older Youth in Care

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast was approved for 1.0 hour of MCLE credit. Attorneys and judges 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. 

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.0 hour certification and recertification continuing legal education requirement for the specialty fields of Child Welfare Law and Family Law. 

On March 12, 2024, the Children’s Commission hosted a live webinar entitled “Trial Skills for Child Welfare Cases: Making and Responding to Objections.”

Presented by Rob Galvin, Attorney at Law, and William “Drake” Mikeska, Managing Attorney for DFPS Region 8, this webinar included a discussion about the importance of making proper objections under the Texas Rules of Evidence. Strategies for when and how to object, how to respond to an objection, and what to do after a receiving a ruling on  an objection were also covered.

The video replay and accompanying materials are below.

Recording: Trial Skills for Child Welfare Cases: Making and Responding to Objections

Additional Resources

PowerPoint: Making and Responding to Objections PowerPoint

Materials: Making and Responding to Objections Q&A

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast was approved for 1.0 hour of MCLE credit. Attorneys and judges 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.

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.0 hour of certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty fields of Child Welfare Law and Family Law.

On February 9, 2024, the Children’s Commission hosted a live webinar entitled “Navigating the Transition from Trial to Appellate Counsel.”

Mark Briggs, Attorney at Law and Child Welfare Law Mediator, Michael Hull, Assistant County Attorney at the Harris County Attorney’s Office Appellate Division, and Lauren James, Chambers Attorney for the Texas First Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas discussed the obligations and duties of a trial attorney post-judgement and how to provide a smooth and successful handoff from trial to appellate counsel.

The video replay and accompanying materials are below.

Recording: Navigating the Transition from Trial to Appellate Counsel

Additional Resources: 

PowerPoint: Navigating the Transition from Trial to Appellate Counsel PowerPoint

Materials: Navigating the Transition from Trial to Appellate Counsel Webinar Q&A

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast was approved for 1.0 hour of MCLE credit. Attorneys and judges 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.

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.0 hour of certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty fields of Child Welfare Law, Civil Appellate Law, and Family Law.

On November 17, 2023, the Children’s Commission hosted a live webinar entitled “Trial Skills for Child Welfare Cases: Laying Your Evidentiary Foundation.” 

Michele Surratt, Managing Attorney for DFPS Region 9, and Tiffany Reedy, Managing Counsel for the Child Protection Services and Disability & Elder Law Divisions at the Harris County Attorney’s Office, discussed the foundations necessary to introduce exhibits commonly used in child welfare cases such as business records, certified copies, photos, video clips, outcry statements, and drug test results. Potential objections and foundational issues that may be encountered by attorneys attempting to lay their evidentiary foundation were also covered.

The video replay and accompanying materials are below.

Recording: Laying Your Evidentiary Foundation

Additional Resources:

PowerPoint: Laying Your Evidentiary Foundation

Materials: Laying Your Evidentiary Foundation Webcast Q&A

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast was approved for 1 hour of MCLE. Attorneys and judges 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.

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1 hour of certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty field of Child Welfare Law.

On October 19, 2023, the Children’s Commission hosted a live webcast entitled “Enhancing the Experience for Parents Involved in Child Welfare Cases.”

Hon. Robert Falkenberg, Associate Judge of the Child Protection Court of South Texas, led a panel discussion highlighting the importance of attorney-client communication, best practices in preparing clients for court appearances, and legal advocacy inside and outside of the courtroom with Cynthia Dyar, Special Director of the Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Family Defense Project; Janet Vanderzanden, Staff Attorney at the Travis County Office of Parental Representation; and lived experience parents Kameryn Townsend and Jacqueline Reyna.

The video replay and accompanying materials are below.

Recording: Enhancing the Experience of Parents in Child Welfare Cases

 

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast was approved for 1.5 hours of MCLE and .25 hours of ethics credit. Attorneys and judges 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.

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.5 hours of certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty fields of Child Welfare and Family Law.

On September 7, 2023, the Children’s Commission hosted a live webinar entitled “Trauma History and Psychotropic Medications: What Judges and Attorneys Need to Know.”

Speakers included Hon. Delia Gonzales, Associate Judge of the Dallas County Child Protection and Permanency Court; Dr. Anu Partap, Medical Director of Health Equity at Cook Children’s Health Care System; Tiffany Crouch Bartlett, parent and child’s attorney in Central Texas, and Michelle Latray, parent and child’s attorney in Groesbeck, Texas. The webinar addressed the importance of having a patient’s complete trauma history to assist health professionals with providing proper medical diagnoses and treatment plans. Duties, responsibilities, and best practice tips for attorneys representing parents and children in child welfare cases when psychotropic medications are or may be prescribed to a child were also covered.

The video replay and accompanying materials are below.

Recording: Trauma History and Psychotropic Medications: What Judges and Attorneys Need to Know

Additional Resources:

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast was approved for 1.5 hours of MCLE and .25 hours of ethics credit. Attorneys and judges 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.

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.5 hours of certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty field of Child Welfare Law.

On August 17, 2023, the Children’s Commission hosted a live webinar entitled “Reevaluating Reasonable Efforts Findings.”  

Children's Commission Jurist in Residence Hon. Piper McCraw; Legal Representation Director Dylan Moench; and Staff Attorneys Renée Castillo-De La Cruz and Aimee Corbin provided an overview of federal and state law on reasonable efforts and included a fictional scenario to demonstrate reasonable efforts followed by a Q&A discussion.

The video replay and accompanying PowerPoint presentation are below.

Recording: Reevaluating Reasonable Efforts Findings

Additional Resources:

PowerPoint: Reevaluating Reasonable Efforts Findings

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast was approved for 1.0 hour of MCLE and .25 hours of ethics credit. Attorneys and judges 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.

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.0 hour of certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty field of Child Welfare Law.

On May 17, 2023, the Children’s Commission hosted a webinar designed for judges and attorneys entitled “Overview of Treatment Family Foster Care.”  

Panelists included Children’s Commission Director of Legal Representation, Dylan Moench; Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Program Lead, Lauren Morgan; DFPS Systems Improvement Analyst, Caroline Sinha; Monarch Family Services Owner and Administrator, Dr. Valerie Jackson; and CK Family Services Senior Director of Family Services, Michael Scrivner. The presentation provided an overview of the Treatment Foster Family Care (TFFC) model, goals and benefits, what makes a TFFC home different than a traditional foster home, the placement process, eligibility criteria, and how it all relates to judges, attorneys, and other child advocates.

The video replay, accompanying PowerPoint presentation, and responses to the questions posed in the live broadcast are now available below.

Recording: Overview of Treatment Family Foster Care

 

Additional Resources:

 

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast was approved for 1.5 hours of MCLE credit. Attorneys and judges 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 October 22, 2022, the Children’s Commission hosted a live webcast entitled “Enhancing the Experience of Children & Youth in Court: How Judges and Attorneys Can Prepare and Support Youth Attending Court.” The discussion focused on the importance of youth voice and best practices for preparing a child client for a court appearance, including speaking with the judge about their needs and goals. The webcast featured a panel with a judge, attorney, and leaders with lived experience in the child welfare system. The panel included the following speakers:

  • Hon. Delia Gonzales, Associate Judge of the Dallas County Child Protection and Permanency Court; 
  • Lori Duke, Co-Director and Clinical Professor at the Children’s Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law; 
  • Betty Bajika, former Young Adult Leadership Council Member, Texas Network of Youth Services;
  • Leroy Berrones Soto, Project Coordinator, Child Welfare Reviews Project, JBS International, Inc.; and
  • Ryan Harris, former Conservatorship Caseworker, Department of Family and Protective Services.

Recording: Enhancing the Experience of Children & Youth in Court: How Judges and Attorneys Can Prepare and Support Youth Attending Court

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast has been approved for 1.0 hour of MCLE, with 0.25 hours of ethics credit. Attorneys and judges 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.

TBLS certification and recertification hours: This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 1.0 hour of certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in the specialty field of Child Welfare Law.

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.

Judges are especially encouraged to view this webcast as it includes specific information about the court review requirements for placement of a child or youth in a QRTP and the related timelines required by the Texas Family Code.

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.

RecordingOverview of Qualified Residential Treatment Program Legal Requirements

Additional Resources:

MCLE Information for Self-Reporting

Judges 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.

Recording: Child Welfare Case Primer: Statutory Hearings and Current Issues

Additional Resources:

 

MCLE Information: The recorded webcast has been approved for 1.25 hours of MCLE credit. Attorneys and judges seeking MCLE credit hours may contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recording.

Family Violence Credit Information for Judges: The recorded webcast has been approved for 1.25 hours of Family Violence credit. Judges seeking Family Violence credit hours may contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recording.

 

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 video replay has been approved for 5.5 MCLE hours. Judges and 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.

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. Judicial teams were composed by judges who invited the following members from their jurisdictions: a court coordinator; a prosecutor; an attorney who takes appointments for parents and for children in CPS cases; a senior-level Caseworker or Supervisor at DFPS; and a CASA Executive Director or Program Director. Due to the virtual format, additional child welfare stakeholders also attended.

The on-demand video replays available below have been approved for 8.50 MCLE credit hours and 2.0 ethics hours. Video replays and conference materials can be accessed on the Judicial Trauma Institute webpage. Judges and 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.

Additional Child Welfare Related Online Content

The following non-accredited legal-education webinar replays are available for viewing and may qualify for attorney self-study hours pursuant to Texas MCLE Regulation 2.2.

On July 18, 2023 the Children’s Commission hosted a live webinar entitled “88th Regular Legislative Session Update”. Legal Representation Director Dylan Moench and Staff Attorney Aimee Corbin provided the update on bills affecting child welfare law passed during the 88th Regular Legislative Session, the statutes affected, and their effective date. In addition, the Children's Commission's 88th Texas Regular Legislative Session Report is now available. The Legislative Session Report lists the legislative changes by bill number and by statute and includes changes to the Texas Family Code.

The webinar replay, accompanying PowerPoint presentation, and report are now available below.

Recording: 88th Regular Legislative Session Update

Additional Resources:

MCLE Information: 

  • The State Bar of Texas has approved this course for 1.5 hours of MCLE, including 0.25 ethics hours. Attorneys and judges 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.
  • The Texas Board of Legal Specialization approved 1.5 hours for certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and paralegals in Child Welfare and Family Law.
  • For judges, the Texas Center for the Judiciary (TCJ) has approved 1.5 Family Violence hours for judges. To request credit, please complete the FV Course Attendance Form and return to TCJ. 

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.

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. 

Recording: The Texas Response to the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

 

 

Additional Resources:

Child Welfare Related CLE through TexasBarCLE

In partnership with the CLE branch of the State Bar of Texas, TexasBarCLE, and the Children's Commission produces MCLE courses on child welfare and related issues to provide training for court-appointed attorneys and attorneys representing the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS).

From 2012 through 2019, the Children’s Commission partnered with TexasBarCLE to broadcast a day-long, 6 MCLE hours’ worth of training for attorneys who represented children, parents, and DFPS in child welfare proceedings. The Commission also worked with TexasBarCLE in 2022 to produce “Building Better Youth Outcomes: The Importance of Being Trauma Informed,” for 1 hour of MLE credit, including 1 hour of ethics. At this time, the Commission’s partnership with TexasBarCLE is focused on participating in the Child Protection Law Section’s Curriculum Committee and supporting that Section through a grant for scholarships to their annual Advanced Training and the annual Child Abuse and Neglect Workshop.

The TexasBarCLE’s Online Classroom of child welfare-related courses 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:

TexasBar CLE Website

 

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.

Live broadcasts are archived in the TexasBarCLE’s Child Welfare Practice Area in their Online Classroom. Courses in the Online Classroom are added and rotated off periodically, as needed.

The TexasBarCLE’s Online Classroom of child welfare-related courses 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.