At CASA, we know that it is important for children and youth to be involved in decisions that impact their lives. The Children’s Commission’s latest resource letter discusses resources for youth engagement – continue reading for background information and the highlights.
Youth attendance at their own permanency hearings is required by law, specifically Chapter 263 of the Texas Family Code. The child must attend each permanency hearing, unless the court specifically excuses the child’s attendance. The court must consult with the child in a developmentally appropriate manner regarding the child’s permanency plan, if the child is four years of age or older and the court determines it is in the best interest of the child.
Despite this, children and youth regularly report that they do not get the opportunity to participate in the court process. Although there may be practical hurdles like transportation or missing school, creative solutions are available to ensure that youth maintain a voice in the legal process regardless of the circumstances.
Videoconferencing can facilitate children and youth participation in hearings when it is impossible or impractical for the child or youth to be otherwise present. Click the links below to read more about how videoconferencing works or send an email to [email]email@example.com[/email] for more information.
- Video Conferencing Project
- Who May Access and Use This Video Conference Resource?
- Frequently Asked Questions
Also, there are multiple resources to assist judges with engaging children and youth – these may also be helpful to the CASA community. Click on the following links for more information, practical tips and additional resources:
- Bench Card on Engaging Children and Youth in Court |American Bar Association
- Five Tips for Successfully Interviewing Your Child Client | American Bar Association
- Texas Child Protection Law Bench Book on Youth Voice | Children’s Commission
- Round Table Report on Youth Presence in Court Proceedings | Children’s Commission
- 2018 Study of Legal Representation in Child Protective Services Cases | Children’s Commission
- Youth Engagement Toolkit | The Texas Network of Youth Services
- Youth Presence in Court archived 9/11/18 webinar | Presented by Children’s Commission Staff Attorney Dylan Moench