Back in October I noted the kick-off meeting for the Supreme Court Children's Commission - Education Committee. That group and its many components and staff have been working away at the educational challenges faced by foster kids, and I enjoyed an update on that work today; a lot is happening both in Texas and nationally to improve the way these different systems interact with each other so that the kids can be kept safe, but also receive the education they need and are entitled to. For example, in early November, the federal Department of Education and the Administration for Children and Families are co-hosting an event that will highlight and spur more collaboration between child welfare, education and the courts.
Here in Texas, Chief Justice Jefferson's 2011 State of the Judiciary address has helped keep me focused on issues of juvenile justice. We memorialized his interest in these topics for the 82nd Legislature on a Children's Commission webpage, and I believe it is safe to say that his interest is starting to catch on with other chief justices around the country, as he enjoys the bully pulpit of chairing the Conference of Chief Justices this year.
One result of his interest is an upcoming event that readers will want to note. On the morning of July 19th, Chief Justice Jefferson and Judge Jeanne Meurer will host an event in the Supreme Court Courtroom, the presentation of a massive new report, by the Council of State Governments Justice Center. The report uses data only available in Texas to track the school disciplinary treatment of almost 1 million Texas middle school children, delving deeper into the relationships between suspension, expulsion, and involvement in the juvenile justice system. If you can't attend in person, as with the Court's oral arguments you can view a webcast, courtesy of St. Mary's University School of Law.