Municipal Judges Required to Complete Child Welfare and IDEA Training in 2014-2015 Academic Year

In the 81st Regular Legislative Session (way back in 2009), a new requirement was placed upon municipal judges to complete minimum education related to child welfare and the Individuals with Disabilites Education Act (IDEA).

What is the IDEA?

IDEA is the federal law enacted with the goal of providing full educational opportunities to all students with disabilities in the United States. Those full educational opportunities are provided in public schools through special education programs. Therefore, IDEA serves as the basis for all special education programs in every public school in Texas. More specific to courts, the IDEA helps ensure certain rights to special education children who may be adversely affected by disciplinary proceedings in the juvenile justice system.

What is the requirement for education related to the IDEA?

House Bill 1793 established additional education requirements by mandating that every judge who handles juveniles charged with fine-only offenses complete a two hour course of instruction related to understanding the relevant issues of child welfare and the IDEA in every judicial academic year ending in 0 or 5. This requirement became effective on September 1, 2009, but any judge who was in office on the effective date was exempt from the training for the 2010 academic year. Therefore, many municipal judges are encountering this required training for the first time this academic year.

Can I meet this requirement through my TMCEC judicial educations this year?

 Yes, TMCEC offers you multiple options for satisfying this requirement. Here are your options: 

  1. Live Training at Regional Seminar - Implementing Juvenile Justice is a 4 hour session offered at every Regional Judges Seminar this year. It is usually offered on Day 1, in what has typically been referred to as the “pre-conference session.” At some schools, it will be offered on Day 3 as a “post-conference session. Attending this class fulfills the requirement.
  2. Video Training at Regional Seminar – For judges who would like to satisfy the child welfare and IDEA requirement at a Regional Judges Seminar, but are unable to attend the Implementing Juvenile Justice pre- or post- conference session, a video break-out track will be offered on the final morning of the program. Watching all portions of the video track will satisfy the requirement.
  3. Webinars – Two live webinars are scheduled for next summer that will cover child welfare and the IDEA. They will occur on July 2, 2015 (The IDEA) and July 23, 2015 (Child Welfare). If judges cannot watch these webinars live, they will be available on demand the day after the live webinar. Judges who watch this will fulfill the two hour requirement.
  4. Implementing Juvenile Justice Clinic – On July 24, 2015, TMCEC will offer a four- hour clinic on Implementing Juvenile Justice. Attending this will satisfy the requirement.
  5. Video on the Online Learning Center – A child welfare and IDEA page will be available this academic year with access to the videos dealing with child welfare and the IDEA. Judges who watch this fulfill the requirement.

 How do I report this requirement?

Judges who fulfill the requirement at a live Regional Seminar, will be able to indicate they have met the requirement on the Record of Attendance. Judges who watch the webinar and complete an evaluation will receive a certificate that will be used to report the completion of the training. Judges who attend the clinic will sign in and this will be used to indicate that participants will meet the requirement. Judges who watch the video on the online learning center may submit an affirmation of completion or a certificate available on the IDEA and child welfare page.