Jurist in Residence Letters

The Commission has two Jurists in Residence:

District Judge Dean Rucker (ret): Appointed in 1998, Judge Rucker serves as the Presiding Judge for the Seventh Administrative Judicial Region of Texas. In 2014, Judge Rucker retired as judge of the 318th Judicial District in Midland County, a bench he held since 1988. Judge Rucker was a longtime member of the Supreme Court Task Force on Foster Care, created in 1994 and was a founding member of the Children’s Commission before becoming a Jurist in Residence. He is a member of the Texas Academy of Family Law Specialists and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. He has served in numerous leadership capacities and also chairs the Children's Commission's Legislative Committee.

District Judge Robin Sage (ret): Judge Sage retired in 2011 from the 307th Family District Court in Longview. After serving as the assigned judge for the Child Protection Court of Northeast Texas, she currently is a judicial consultant with the National Center for State Courts and Casey Family Programs. Judge Sage has been active in Court Improvement Program activities since the mid-1990s serving on the Supreme Court Task Force on Foster Care, and was a founding member of the Children’s Commission prior to serving as Jurist in Residence.

Each judge is instrumental in advancing judicial education and community collaboration across the state through training events and written communications, particularly topical Jurist in Residence letters.

Jurist in Residence Letters

(Listed alphabetically and available at http://texaschildrenscommission.gov/jir.aspx)

•   84th Session Legislative Update

•   Back to School - New Legislation and Resources to Help Improve Education Outcomes of Students in Foster Care

•   Bench Book for CPS Judges

•   Changes at Department of Family and Protective Services; Increase in Removals

•   Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment for Foster Children

•   Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment for Foster Children Meetings

•   Children's Commission Offers Registration Scholarships for Child Abuse & Neglect Workshop

•   Court Hearing Practices and Court Costs

•   CPS Realigns Staff in Response to State Budget Cuts

•   DFPS Foster Care Redesign

•   DFPS Publishes Guide for Fathers in CPS Cases

•   DFPS Transformation Report and Suggested Statutory Changes

•   Education Decision-Making in CPS Cases and the New Form 2085-E

•   Engagement Efforts to Achieve Permanency

•   Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

•   Extended Health Care Benefits for Former Foster Youth

•   Extending Foster Care Beyond 18

•   Family Visitation in CPS Cases

•   Federal Requirements Regarding Specificity in Court Orders

•   Foster Care and Human Trafficking

•   Impact of Budget Deficits on CPS

•   Implicit Bias in Judicial Decision-Making

•   Information about Youth Sex Offenders

•   Judicial Guide to Advocate for and Ensure Adequate Funding for Legal Representation in Child Protective Services Cases

•   Legislative Changes Regarding Medical Care for Foster Youth

•   Legislative Proposal on Appointment and Compensation of Counsel in Child Protective Services (CPS) Cases

•   New Appellate Rules Applicable to Termination of Parental Rights or State as Managing Conservator

•   New DFPS Subpoena Policy

•   New Medical Consenter Training

•   New Texas Case Law on Indian Child Welfare Act

•   Ombudsman for Children and Youth in Foster Care

•   Opiate and Opioid Dependency of Pregnant and Nursing Women

•   Parental Child Safety Placements, or PCSPs

•   Permanency Care Assistance Program Basics

•   Permanency Care Assistance Program Follow-Up

•   Permanency Care Assistance Program - 3rd JIR

•   Permanency Summit Follow-up

•   Psychoactive Medications

•   Star Health Enhancements

•   Star Health & Psychotropic Medications

•   Texas Child Protection Specialty Courts

•   Texas Mounts Effort to Improve Educational Outcomes of Children and Youth in Foster Care

•   Unaccompanied Alien Children

•   Why It’s Important to Consider the Indian Child Welfare Act