Resource Letter:
For Judges and Attorneys Handling Child Protective Services Cases
February 13, 2020
Reminder: Hands-on Trial Skills Training Applications Due Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Designed for less experienced attorneys handling CPS cases who want to improve their litigation skills, the Children’s Commission’s annual Trial Skills Training will be taught in San Marcos, Texas on June 24-26th, 2020. Space is limited to 21 attorneys who represent DFPS, parents, and/or children on CPS dockets.

For purposes of the training, “less experienced” means that prior to applying to the Trial Skills Training, applicants who represent children and parents will have completed two to three contested Adversary Hearings and/or two to three final termination trials as first chair, and applicants who represent DFPS will have completed at least three contested Adversary Hearings and/or three to five final termination trials as first chair.

The application deadline is midnight on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 . This will be the only opportunity to attend this hands-on opportunity this year. For more information and to submit an application for the training, please visit the Trial Skills Training webpage .

If you should have any questions or need additional information, please contact us by emailing
MCLE on Essentials of Family Representation in CPS Cases Now Available in the TexasBarCLE Online Classroom
Originally recorded live on September 26, 2019, all of the following programs have been archived in the CPS Practice Area of the Online Classroom of TexasBarCLE, the State Bar of Texas’ continuing legal education branch.

Avoiding Burnout: Essentials of Self Care in CPS Cases . This presentation provides education on and the differences between secondary trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Available resources for Texas attorneys and judges regarding dealing with depression, anxiety, and substance use will be discussed, along with practical ideas for self-care. MCLE No: 174061439, for 1 hour of MCLE Credit, including .50 hours of ethics credit. To register, please link here: Register for Class

Essentials of Child Representation in CPS Cases: Ethics and Best Practices for AALs This panel discussion covers ethical issues for attorneys representing children in CPS cases, statutory rights and duties, what “active representation” can look like, and education advocacy for children. The presentation will focus on the attorney-client relationship across different developmental stages and includes:
  • Representing Nonverbal Children (understanding the dual role of the Ad Litem and substituted judgment);
  • Representing Children ages 6-12 (understanding substituted judgment versus being client-directed and related “gray areas”); and
  • Representing Older Youth (understanding client-directed advocacy; dual status issues; transitioning youth; extended jurisdiction; and benefits).

MCLE No: 174061435, for 2 hours of MCLE Credit, including .75 hours of ethics credit. To register, please link here: Register for Class

Essentials of Parent Representation in CPS Cases: Ethics and Best Practices for Attorneys Representing Parents . This panel discussion includes ethical issues for parent attorneys, as well as statutory rights and duties that attorneys must undertake as part of their representation. The following issues will also be covered: reasonable efforts and how they can be challenged; practical examples of “active representation;” and acknowledging and responding to a parent client’s trauma. The webcast will also discuss the attorney-client relationship throughout the stages of a CPS case; specifically, advocacy at the outset of the case (understanding your client’s informal, pre-filing involvement with CPS through the Adversary Hearing); advocacy at the midpoint of the case (understanding the impact of the Status Hearing and Permanency Review Hearings and the importance of active representation of the parent client during this stage of the case); and advocacy at the end of the case (understanding advocacy for reunification or termination). MCLE No: 174061438, for 2 hours of MCLE Credit, including .75 hours of ethics credit. To register, please link here: Register for Class

Mediation as a Tool for Family Reunification This presentation emphasizes how to fulfill the statutory duties of an Attorney ad Litem or Parent Attorney before mediation in a CPS case in order to optimize opportunities at mediation, including how to advocate for successful reunification of families, where possible. The importance of siblings being placed together will be discussed as will the role of the mediator and ethical issues for mediators in CPS cases. MCLE No: 174061437, for 1 hour of MCLE Credit, including .50 ethics credit. To register, please link here:  Register for Class

For information about discounts and scholarships related to the above webcasts and other CPS-related MCLE opportunities, please see the Training Opportunities for Attorneys webpage on the Children’s Commission website.
Coming Soon: 2020 Summer Scholarship Opportunities for Judges and Attorneys
As in years past, the Children’s Commission plans to offer scholarships to summer conferences for judges and attorneys handling child welfare cases. Scholarship opportunities will include:

Please be on the lookout for announcements from the Children’s Commission in the coming months for more information on these scholarships and links to apply. These opportunities will also be posted on our website for judges and attorneys when available.
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For a complete list of Jurist in Residence 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 .