My Voice In Court

Category: Uncategorized

An Open Letter to Children in the care of CPS in the 315th District Court (updated)

Children in Texas have rights. And a voice.

In addition to the many rights you have as a child in Texas, as a child in the care of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (also referred to as “TDFPS” or “CPS”) you have a unique set of rights.

In fact, Rule 748.1101 of the Texas Administrative Code lists many rights that are specifically guaranteed to children in the foster care system.

CPS lists them here.

In addition to those rights, it is important that you know that you have the right at all times to have your voice heard. In many cases, it is impossible for a court to determine what is in your best interest without direct, honest input from you.

How can your voice be heard?

First, you always have a right to communicate directly with the judges who will be making decisions in your case.

Second, you always have the right to have an attorney to explain the law to you and represent your legal interests–what you want or think you need–in court.

When you are ready to talk to a judge or seek the help of an attorney, contact your caseworker or call the court itself to make an appointment at (713) 222-4950. If you’d rather your foster parent or caseworker not know you wish to visit, that is ok! Email and other contact information is here.

Your visit will always be with the judge and a court reporter, and (but only if you so choose) a caseworker, foster parent, lawyer, or child advocate volunteer. If you’d feel more comfortable having a nice rescue dog present, we will make that happen too. Our dog Elsa would love to visit with you.

If you are a child in the care of CPS whose case is in the 315th District Court, you never need anyone’s permission to contact the court.

Here are additional contacts and their numbers:

  • The DFPS Texas Abuse/Neglect Hotline at 1-800-252-5400.
  • The HHSC Ombudsman for Children and Youth currently in Foster Care at 1-844-286-0769.
  • The DFPS Office of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-720-7777.
  • Disability Rights of Texas at 1-800-252-9108.

Since we began this website, hundreds of children like yourself have visited us. Many of you have changed the outcome of your case simply by telling us what you’d like–or by telling us about a problem you need solved.

The court looks forward to hearing from you (again).

–Judge Mike Schneider (Ret.)

Drugs And Behavior: Harris County Juvenile Drug Court, Forensic Evaluations, and Behavioral Health Services Overview

The below documents are intended to accompany the December 12, 2016 Drugs and Behavior lecture at Columbia University by Judge Mike Schneider.

Composite of Juvenile Drug Court and Forensic Evaluations Overview (ppt)

Composite of Juvenile Drug Court and Forensic Evaluations Overview (pdf)

Harris County Juvenile Drug Court Overview (ppt)

Harris County Juvenile Drug Court Overview (pdf)

Harris County Juvenile Forensic Evaluations (ppt)

Harris County Juvenile Forensic Evaluations (pdf)

Harris County Juvenile Behavioral Health Services Overview (pdf)

Harris County Juvenile Justice Process (pdf)

4a2-district-court-top-10-offenses

Harris County Criminal District Courts “Top Ten” (ppt)

Harris County Criminal District Courts “Top Ten” (pdf)

Harris County Criminal Courts at Law “Top Ten” (ppt)

Harris County Criminal Courts at Law “Top Ten” (pdf)

 

6th Annual Juvenile Law Conference- September 2015

Click here to access all conference media.

Thanks to all in attendance and the Juvenile Law Section of the Houston Bar Association for making this another success.

5th Annual: Adjusting the Bar: The Definitive Ad Litem Seminar in DFPS Cases April 2015

To access forms, papers, and PowerPoint files from the 5th Annual Adjusting the Bar Conference, April 24-25, 2015 go to:

http://mikeschneider.org/2015-5th-juv-law-conf.html 

Policies and Procedure: Appointment of Ad Litem Attorneys in Parental Termination Proceedings Initiated by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in the 315th District Court

The following procedures have been adopted by the 315th District Court and will be in full effect not later than November 1, 2014. See the District Court Administration’s website for further details and forms pertinent to appointment in such cases.

Download the policy and procedures


5th Annual Juvenile Law Conference

Click here to access forms, papers, and PowerPoint files from the 5th Annual Juvenile Law Conference, September 26-27, 2014.

4th Annual “Adjusting the Bar: The Definitive Ad Litem Seminar in DFPS Cases” 2014 Conference

Click here to access forms, papers, and PowerPoint files from the 4th Annual Adjusting the Bar Conference, April 11-12, 2014.

 

An Open Letter to Children in the care of CPS in the 315th District Court

Children in Texas have rights. And a voice.

In addition to the many rights you have as a child in Texas, as a child in the care of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (also referred to as “TDFPS” or “CPS”) you have a unique set of rights.

In fact, Rule 748.1101 of the Texas Administrative Code lists nearly thirty legal rights that are specifically guaranteed to children in the foster care system.

In addition to those rights, it is important that you know that you have the right at all times to have your voice heard. In many cases, it is impossible for a court to determine what is in your best interest without direct, honest input from you.

How can your voice be heard?

First, you always have a right to communicate directly with the judges who will be making decisions in your case.

Second, you always have the right to have an attorney to explain the law to you and represent your legal interests–what you want or think you need–in court.

If you ever want to talk to a judge or seek the help of an attorney, contact your caseworker or call Beverly Williams to make an appointment at (713) 222-4950. Email and other contact information is here.

If you are a child in the care of CPS whose case is in the 315th District Court, you never need anyone’s permission to contact the court.

We look forward to hearing from you.

–Judges Mike Schneider and Angela Ellis