Judicial Trauma Institute

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. The conference session replays and materials are relevant and useful for any Texas judge or stakeholder interested in learning more about trauma and trauma-informed court practices.

For attorneys seeking MCLE credit, please contact CCTraining@txcourts.gov after viewing the session recordings.


Pre-Conference Materials:

Day 1

Session 1: Breaking the Cycle by Solving for Pattern

Dr. David Cross will discuss the developmental forces that help create and sustain intergenerational cycles of relational trauma and steps that child welfare court judges can take to help break these intergenerational cycles and improve outcomes for children and families involved with the child welfare system.

Speaker: David Cross, Ph.D., Rees-Jones Director, Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at TCU.

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Session 2: Equity as a Foundation for a Trauma-Informed Court

Fairness and equity are cornerstones of the legal and judicial system. The speakers will discuss ensuring equitable treatment of all parties and considering racial and historical trauma in implementing a trauma-informed court.

Speakers:

  • Aurora Martinez Jones, District Judge
  • Tanya Rollins, MSW
  • Cynthia Wheless, District Judge

Video:


Session 3: Starting the Case with Family Strengths in Mind

Being trauma-informed means asking what has happened to a person rather than what is wrong with them. Bringing a family to successful reunification requires us to also ask “What is right with this family?” Speakers will discuss how judges and child welfare teams can coordinate from the beginning of a case to best address each family’s needs through tailored Family Service Plans, wraparound services, and family-focused casework.

Speakers:

  • Darlene Byrne, Chief Justice, Third Court of Appeals
  • Denee Borchardt, Program Director, CASA of Tarrant County
  • Cindy Dyar, Staff Attorney, Travis County Office of Parental Representation
  • Verlyn Johnson, Parent Liaison for Region 6, Parent Collaboration Group
  • Leah Lopez, Social Services Coordinator, Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo's Department of Behavioral Health
  • Elizabeth Watkins, Family Justice Director Williamson County Attorney's Office

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Session 4: Addressing Behavioral Health Needs with a Trauma-Informed Lens

Speakers will discuss behavioral health services through a trauma-informed lens for children and youth in care and implications for psychotropic medication treatment. Speakers will also discuss how judges and child welfare teams can understand and utilize tools and resources through the various transitions of a case.

Speakers:

  • Delia Gonzalez, Associate Judge, Child Protection and Permanency Court
  • Nathan Hoover, Senior Clinical Director, Behavioral Health Services, Superior Health Plan
  • Moshin Khan, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, UT Southwestern Medical Center; Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence
  • Valerie Borum Smith, MD, MHP, FAAP Pediatrician, St. Paul Children's Services

Video:


Day 2:

Session 1: Effects of Secondary Trauma and Tools for Addressing the Everyday and the Crisis Moments

The wellness of individuals who work with children, youth, young adults, and families is a key component to building and sustaining a trauma-informed environment. This session will provide a basic understanding of compassion fatigue and secondary trauma. The speaker will provide tools for how to deal with the everyday and crisis moments on an individual and organizational level.

Speaker:

Becky Morales, LCSW-S, Clinical Therapist, Colors of Austin Counseling Adjunct Assistant Professor & Adjunct Faculty Liaison, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin

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Session 2: Learning from the Experts: A Panel Discussion on Lived Experience

What is the experience of children and families in a trauma-informed court? Panelists will share their lived experience to help court teams understand the importance of utilizing family and youth voice to improve courtroom practices.

Speakers:

  • Rob Hofmann, Judge, 452nd District Court
  • Alexandria Fuller, Person with Lived Experience as a Youth in Foster Care
  • Monique Gonzalez, Experience as a Parent in the Child Welfare System
  • Leroy Berrones Soto, Person with Lived Experience as a Youth in Foster Care

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Session 3: Judicial Panel on Developing a Trauma-Informed Court

This panel will provide a start to finish review of creating a trauma-informed court detailing the specific steps taken in their court as well as provide broad best practice tips for developing or enhancing trauma-informed practices.

Speakers:

  • Rosie Alvarado, Judge, 438th District Court
  • Carol Clark, Senior Judge
  • Katrina Griffith, Associate Judge, Harris County Child Protection Court
  • Carlos Villalon, Associate Judge, Child Protection Court of the Rio Grande Valley

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Session 4: Implementation and Sustaining the Effort

This panel will discuss how to approach implementation with the court team and tips for sustaining a jurisdictionally appropriate action plan. Panelists will review the purpose and mechanics of team action planning and discuss potential data projects.

Speakers:

  • Darlene Byrne, Judge, Chief Justice, 3rd Court of Appeals
  • Peter Sakai, Judge, Judge, 225th District Court
  • Jeff Cox, Senior Data Analysts, Texas Alliance of Child and Family Services

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