For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Protective Services Cases
April 12, 2021
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month
April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and there are many national, state, and local efforts to focus awareness on the prevention of child abuse and on ways to strengthen collaboration between professionals, families, and communities.
Passage of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) brought renewed emphasis on prevention efforts in child welfare at the national level by providing funding for programs and services geared towards the prevention of child abuse. The American Bar Association (ABA) created multiple resources to help judges, attorneys, and other child welfare professionals understand how the FFPSA changes the face of child welfare from a reactive system to a proactive system and what role they hold in its implementation. A Guide for the Legal Community (Guide) is a road map of the FFPSA’s new programs through the life of a child welfare case including Part I: Before a Petition is Filed; Part II: After a Petition is Filed and a Child or Youth is in Foster Care; and Part III: During a Child or Youth’s Transition from Foster Care. Within each sub-part, the Guide provides insight and guidance on questions, considerations, and actions for the following professionals: Child Welfare Agency Counsel, Child’s Counsel, Parent’s Counsel, and the Judicial Decision-maker.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott issued a proclamation for Texans to stand together and work diligently to protect the children of Texas. While preventing child abuse is an ever-present, ongoing effort, the month of April is a time for judges, lawyers, and other professionals to spread awareness, spotlight the need to prevent child abuse before it occurs, and reinvigorate their community efforts.
Judges and lawyers play an important role in preventing child abuse not just in their daily work but also in their communities. Judges and lawyers have professional and personal relationships with the potential to impact and prevent child abuse. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) provides a social media toolkit called Tips for Thriving Families with tools and resources for judges and lawyers to share among their communities to promote prevention practices.
Other resources that may be useful for judges and attorneys to reference and share with their communities, colleagues, and clients are listed below:
By bringing awareness to child abuse prevention and utilizing some of the national and state resources above, judges and attorneys can help strengthen prevention efforts in their communities well beyond the courtroom.
For a complete list of Resource Letters, please visit the Children's Commission web page. 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.