Jurist in Residence Letters

The Jurist in Residence (JIR) position was created to foster judicial leadership and promote greater expertise among child protection judges. The Jurist in Residence acts as a consultant, trainer, and speaker to provide expert and seasoned judicial advice on matters affecting courts and legal system handling of child welfare cases and issues. District Judge Dean Rucker serves as the Children’s Commission’s Jurist in Residence and has done so since 2014.

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.

Acting as JIR, Judge Dean Rucker is instrumental in advancing judicial education and community collaboration across the state through training events and written communications, particularly by authoring regular topical and timely Jurist in Residence letters. The JIR Letter was created to routinely update judges on special matters.

Jurist in Residence Letters

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

•   84th Session Legislative Update

•   85th Legislative Session Update

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

•   Bench Book for CPS Judges

•   Best Practices for Residential Interventions for Youth and their Families: A Resource Guide for Judges and Legal Partners with Involvement in the Children’s Dependency Court System

•   Beyond the Bench: Law, Justice, and Communities Summit

•   Capacity & Community Engagement

•   Child Adolescent Needs and Strengths Assessment and Family Strength and Needs Assessment

•   Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment for Foster Children (2015)

•   Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths (CANS) Assessment for Foster Children Meetings (2016)

•   Court Hearing Practices and Court Costs

•   Definition of Home for Purposes of Removal to Foster Care

•   DFPS Foster Care Redesign

•   DFPS Case Management System

•   DFPS Publishes Guide for Fathers in CPS Cases

•   DFPS Transformation Report and Suggested Statutory Changes

•   Education Considerations for the 2017-2018 School Year

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

•   Education Guides: Transition Planning in CPS and Special Education, Information Sharing Between Child Welfare and Schools

•   Engagement Efforts to Achieve Permanency

•   Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (2015)

•   Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Update

•   Extended Health Care Benefits for Former Foster Youth

•   Extending Foster Care Beyond 18

•   Family Helpline and Spanish Version of the Parent Resource Guide

•   Family Visitation in CPS Cases

•   Federal Requirements Regarding Specificity in Court Orders

•   Foster Care and Human Trafficking

•   Free Online Attorney Training on Representing Parents in CPS Cases Offered by State Bar of Texas

•   Free Spanish‐Language Interpretation Available By Telephone For Some Courts

•   The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Abduction in Cases Involving Battered Respondents: A Texas Bench Guide for State and Federal Court Judges

•   Homeless Youth Handbook

•   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 CASA Screening Procedure

•   New ICWA Quick Reference Tools for State Courts

•   New Medical Consenter Training

•   New Texas Case Law on Indian Child Welfare Act

•   Notice and Engagement Email Notification System Announcement

•   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

•   Supreme Court of Texas Emergency Order Affecting Child Protection Cases

•   TBLS Child Welfare Law Certification Exam

•   Texas Child Protection Specialty Courts

•   Texas Health Steps Medical Checkup

•   Texas Higher Education Information and Resource Guide for Foster Care Liaisons

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

•   Unaccompanied Alien Children

•   Undocumented Caregivers in Texas

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

•   Youth Voice in Court Proceedings