Resource Letter:
For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Protective Services Cases
May 24, 2019
Special Issue: Resources Related to Preventing and Addressing Domestic Child Sex Trafficking
Last year, one in seven runaways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) was the likely victim of child sex trafficking, and 88% of those victims were in the care of social services or the child welfare system when they went missing. Texas has several resources available to judges and attorneys to help gain awareness and knowledge about child sex trafficking so that the legal community can do its part to identify child sex trafficking and appropriately intervene.
In 2015, the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott created a Child Sex Trafficking Team (CSTT) to build Texas’ capacity to serve victims of trafficking and to raise awareness in order to prevent, interdict, and prosecute child exploitation. The CSST team provides awareness materials, education resources, and research for judges, attorneys, child welfare professionals, and other stakeholders related to child sex trafficking. The CSST team recently created a Roadmap for Texas Communities to Address Child Sex Trafficking in partnership with Meadows Mental Health Public Policy Institute. CSTT also hosts monthly webinars on topics ranging from gang-involved trafficking to recognizing male victims of trafficking. To receive notification about these webinars, please email Jordann Jezek, CSTT Program Coordinator, at
The Texas Regional Office of NCMEC, in partnership with the CSTT, provides free CLE training opportunities throughout the state to judges and attorneys involved with juvenile justice or the child welfare system. 
  • Technology Related Crimes Against Children is a two-day training designed to support the efforts of professionals engaged in the investigation, response, and prosecution of the crimes against children that utilize Internet technologies. The training includes presentations from NCMEC, CSTT, the Office of the Attorney General of Texas, Texas Department of Public Safety, the Department of Justice, and local law enforcement, prosecutors, and service providers from the host city. Locations for this training include Lubbock (June 11-12), San Angelo (July 10-11), Galveston (July 24-25), and Nacogdoches (August 21-22). Technology Related Crimes Against Children is certified for 13 hours of CLE credit.
  • Spotlight on Exploitation is a one-day training that provides child welfare stakeholders knowledge and resources to address, combat, and prevent the exploitation and trafficking of youth in the child welfare system. The training includes presentations from NCMEC, CSTT, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS), a panel of foster care alumni, and a sex trafficking survivor and trauma-informed care expert. Locations for this training include Lubbock (June 13) and Amarillo (September 12). Spotlight on Exploitation is certified for 6.75 hours of CLE credit. 

To register for any of these trainings visit or email with any questions.
The National Center for Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) recently released an Issue Brief entitled Voices from the Bench: Judicial Perspectives on Handling Child Sex Trafficking Cases . The brief summarizes findings from interviews with judges around the nation who have developed a specialized approach to working with trafficking survivors. Lessons learned address the following themes:

  • Access to Adequate and Up-to-date Training;
  • Building Awareness and Empathy in the Community;
  • Building Trust and Establishing Relationships with Youth;
  • Developing a Collaborative Approach;
  • Determining the Scope of the Problem in the Community;
  • Identifying Sex Trafficking Victims (and Those at Risk of Exploitation);
  • Considering a Specialty Court Approach;
  • Case Planning, Coordinating Services, and Placement;
  • Collaboration with Adult Criminal Court; and
  • Prioritizing Data Collection and Program Evaluation.

The NCJFCJ also created a series of one-page resources on the following trafficking-related topics: What Should Judicial Officers Know About Domestic Child Sex Trafficking?; Who is Susceptible to Domestic Child Sex Trafficking and What Are Some Red Flags?; and What Should Judges Know About Federal, Tribal, and State Domestic Child Sex Trafficking Legislation?
The DFPS Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation (HTCE) Division is charged with improving capacity at DFPS to identify, report, recover, and restore victims of trafficking for the children and youth served by DFPS. In March 2019, the new DFPS Human Trafficking Response Protocol was rolled out in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Travis counties only. The protocol addresses victim identification through the use of the Commercial Sexual Exploitation-Identification Tool (CSE-IT), service planning for youth at risk and identified victims of sex trafficking, and how DFPS collaborates with other anti-trafficking partners in identification and recovery of victims and subsequent service provision. In early fall, DFPS will evaluate CSE-IT data, refine processes, and determine further roll-out capabilities. DFPS will host its second statewide Human Trafficking Summit in Austin on June 25-27, 2019. For more information about this event, please contact Blanca Denise Lance, DFPS Director of Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation, at
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For a complete list of  Jurist in Residence Letters  and  Attorney Resource Letters , please visit the Children's Commission website. Information provided by the Children’s Commission should not be read as a commentary by the Supreme Court of Texas or any other court. For more information about the Children’s Commission, please visit our  website .