Resource Letter:

For Judges Handling Child Welfare Cases

May 31, 2023

Trial Skills Training Participant Opportunity

The Children’s Commission is developing an attorney waitlist for the upcoming Trial Skills Training (TST) scheduled in San Antonio on September 20-21, 2023, with a virtual training session on September 13, 2023. TST is designed for attorneys currently representing the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) or actively accepting court appointments on a child welfare docket who want to improve their litigation skills. The course offers approximately 17-20 live MCLE hours, including ethics hours, and up to 3 self-study MCLE hours. 


Judges who would like to recommend attorneys from their jurisdiction for this hands-on opportunity may do so by completing the following 4-question nomination form by Friday, June 16, 2023

Attorney Nomination Form


TST is based on a fictional child welfare fact pattern with a complete mock case file covering all Texas-specific statutory hearings building up to final trial and breaks down the teaching of litigation skills by lecturing, demonstrating, strategizing, and practicing in all areas of trial. The use of live witnesses is an integral part of the program, and participating witnesses include DFPS Caseworkers, Pediatric Fellows and/or Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and Parent Therapists. 


The Children’s Commission will reach out to the judicially nominated attorneys and encourage them to apply for the waitlist for the upcoming training. Attorneys on the waitlist will be notified if an opening in their identified training group becomes available. 


Past TST participants have shared the following about their experience in post-event surveys:  


It was great to learn the skills to properly ask the correct questions and to prepare for a trial. 


Trial Skills helped me to improve on the completeness of my objections. I have also improved the way I introduce expert witnesses and their qualifications. 


The trial notebook will help me prepare better files from the beginning of the case and organize things with an eye to a trial, whether it happens or not. The practice sessions on direct and cross, open and closing will help a great deal with any upcoming trial. I thought I was doing all right with trial prep, but now I see the areas I need to improve, and many ways to be better organized. 


Please contact with any questions.

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For a complete list of Resource Letters, please visit the Children's Commission webpage. Information provided by the Children’s Commission should not be read as a commentary by the Supreme Court of Texas or any other court. The Children’s Commission website is not equipped to facilitate dialogue or conversation about matters related to the information in this communique. For more information about the Children’s Commission, please visit our website.