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Judicial, Legal, and Advocacy

When it comes to child welfare cases, many key players are involved in helping a child and family achieve permanency, whether through reunification with family, permanency with relatives, or through unrelated adoption. Judges, attorneys, CASA advocates, caseworkers, and other professionals have distinct roles in this process, and it’s helpful for families and organizations involved in the child welfare system to understand the legal process, who is involved, and what resources are available to help them navigate a complex system.  

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Each county has at last one court that hears child welfare related cases, but for large counties there may be several.  These courts may be family courts, juvenile courts, or specialty courts. If you are a biological family with an open case, a foster or kinship family caring for a child with an open case, or a youth in foster care, it’s helpful to have information about the court in which your case is being heard. 

For more information about navigating the the legal process, see resources listed below. 

Additional Resources

Child Advocates recruits, trains, and supports volunteers who provide a voice for children in foster care. As Harris County’s Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, these volunteers provide advocacy that helps abused and neglected children exit foster care to a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible.

Child Advocates of Fort Bend is a nonprofit agency serving child victims of sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect through two nationally affiliated programs: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC). Its mission is to provide a voice, heal the hurt, and break the cycle of abuse and neglect for children in Fort Bend County.

Child Advocates of Montgomery County provides advocacy and community education, supporting children and families to overcome crisis in order to thrive in a safe, nurturing environment. 

This handbook includes policies and procedures that govern CPS practices including reports of abuse, family group decision making, adoption, transitioning youth, and more. Information is organized by case stage and topic. Each policy also contains a link to the administrative codes and/or legislative statutes from which it is derived. 

DFPS produces this interactive, publicly available, and regularly updated data book. It includes charts, and data points across several years and various departments. If you have questions about this data or need help navigating the information, please complete the form below and we’d be glad to discuss it with you! 

The Foster Care Advocacy Center (FCAC) is a nonprofit multidisciplinary law office that provides holistic representation for children and parents involved in the child welfare system in the greater Houston area. 

In 2007, the Supreme Court of Texas established the Children’s Commission with the overall goal of increasing public awareness of challenges facing children and families involved in the child welfare system and bring attention to this important issue through judicial leadership, reforming judicial practice, and informing policy affecting child welfare. The Children’s Commission publishes many informative resources including handouts, documents, videos, and reports related to child welfare cases. 

The Texas Foster Youth Justice Project helps current and former foster youth understand their legal rights. They also provide legal advice, assistance, guidance, and representation related to enforcing foster youth rights, and educate the general public about the legal needs and concerns of foster youth. The Resource List on their website includes helpful information on a variety of topics pertaining to foster and aging out youth. 

This website is dedicated to providing free and reliable legal information to Texans. The entire site is now available in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

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May is National Foster Care Month

The Riverside Project is raising $75,000 this month. Help us transform the foster care system in Houston!