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Relating to requiring evidence-based trauma training for certain attorneys.
No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
HB 1916 require that an attorney on the court list as being qualified to be an attorney ad litem provide proof that the attorney has completed a training program regarding trauma-informed care and the effect of trauma on children The supreme court would be required to adopt rules to provide for this training. The court would be required to consult with the Texas Center for the Judiciary, the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families, and the Child Protection Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. An attorney would be required to complete the training required by this section before they could be appointed as an attorney ad litem in a child protection case.
HB 1916 would require the training to include information regarding: the impact of trauma on a child, how it may affect a child ’s memories, behavior, and decision-making; attachment and how a lack of attachment may affect a child; the role that trauma-informed care and services can have in helping a child build resiliency and overcome the effects of trauma and adverse childhood experiences; the importance of screening children for trauma and the risk of mislabeling and inappropriate treatment of children without proper screening, including increasing the use of psychotropic medication; the potential for re-traumatization of children in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services; and the availability of: research-supported, trauma-informed, non-pharmacological interventions; and trauma-informed advocacy to increase a child ’s access, while the child is in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services, to: trauma-informed care; and trauma-informed mental and behavioral health services.
The State Bar of Texas would be required to count the hours of training taken under the provisions of this bill toward the attorney's minimum required hours of continuing legal education.
Texas Action is neutral on HB 1916 which does not appear to have an impact on our liberty principles. It is within the legitimate role of the legislature to set forth requirements for a person to be a eligible to be a court-appointed attorney ad litem appointed to represent the legal interests of a child in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.