Questions and Answers:

Juvenile Case Managers and the Texas Juvenile Justice System

Which Texas courts adjudicate the most children accused of violating the law?

Municipal and justice courts come into contact with more children accused of violating the law than juvenile courts and all other Texas courts combined.


What is a juvenile case manager?

A juvenile case manager provides services in cases involving juvenile offenders before a court consistent with the court’s statutory powers. Juvenile case managers assist the court in administering the court’s juvenile docket and in supervising its orders in juvenile cases. Juvenile case managers timely report any information or recommendations relevant to assisting the judge in making decisions that are in the best interest of the child.


Who makes the decision to hire a juvenile case manager?

Juvenile case managers are employed by local governments as a strategic measure to help prevent children from becoming further involved in the justice system and to curb juvenile crime at the local level.


Is a juvenile case manager required to receive continuing professional education?

Yes. S.B. 61, effective June 17, 2011, passed during the 82nd Regular Legislative Session, mandates that local government establish minimum training and educational standards for juvenile case managers. Prior to this enactment, Texas law established no minimum standard of training or education for juvenile case managers. S.B. 61 passed contemporaneously with the 10-year anniversary of the legislation authorizing local governments to employ juvenile case managers.

Not later than December 1, 2011, the governing body of a governmental entity that employs a juvenile case manager under Article 45.056 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is required to adopt minimum training and education standards for juvenile case managers. Presumably, such standards are required to be adopted by local governments when the decision is made to implement a juvenile case manager program.


Where can local governments obtain information on how to comply with S.B. 61?

Local governments can access a “tool box” of resources on the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC) website at: http://www.tmcec.com/Resources/JCM-SB61/. The “tool box” is a collaboration of a special workgroup assembled by TMCEC at the request of municipalities with juvenile case manager programs and with the support of a supplemental grant from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.


How can juvenile case managers help reduce crime?

Juvenile case managers help reduce crime through:
•    Case management;
•    Assistance to children in need of access to social services; and
•    Detection and prevention of abuse, exploitation and neglect of juveniles


What is “case management”?

Case management is one of the strategies used by juvenile case managers to reduce juvenile crime and help prevent children from becoming further involved in the justice system. The case manager coordinates with local service providers to assist families in obtaining counseling, human services, or other assistance.

The case plan serves as a road map to keep all parties apprised of services that have been arranged and the status of service provision. Case plans are typically developed during an intake meeting with the family. The information gathered during the meeting assists the case manager in identifying the family’s needs and services the family is currently receiving. The greater the family’s involvement in the development of the plan, the greater their commitment to the activities and goals contained in the plan.

Once needs are identified and plans to address those needs are developed, the case manager is able to follow up with the family on a regular basis to determine progress and adjust the plan as needed. Moving from crisis management to case management reduces stress for all involved and allows for more effective provision of services. This assists the case manager in meeting his or her goals of reducing juvenile crime and preventing children from becoming further involved in the juvenile justice system.


What is “community resource awareness” and how does it relate to the duties of a juvenile case manager? 

Community resource awareness is an essential component in accessing services for juveniles. Community resources encourage the healthy development of juveniles and families through direct services. These services aid in addressing the cause of criminal behavior, reinforce accountability, remove barriers, and reduce recidivism.
Community resource services may include:
•    Crisis family intervention;
•    Emergency short-term residential care for children 10 years of age or older;
•    Family counseling;
•    Parenting skills training;
•    Youth coping skills training;
•    Advocacy training; and
•    Mentoring


What is the role of a juvenile case manager in detecting and preventing the abuse, exploitation, and neglect of juveniles?

Juvenile case managers must be able to identify abuse, exploitation, and neglect of juveniles since they will have direct access to families and juveniles in their home, school, and community environments.
Texas law requires a person who suspects that a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited to report it to legal authorities.  Juvenile case managers should have thorough knowledge of the procedure for reporting abuse, neglect, or exploitation as they may find evidence of such while investigating and preparing their reports to the court.


Do juvenile case managers in Texas have a professional association?

Yes.  The Texas Juvenile Case Manager Association (TJCMA) was incorporated in 2012. A listserv for juvenile case managers is part of Google Groups for its members. Questions about the TJCMA may be directed to Carlin Caliman at Carlin.Caliman@arlingtontx.gov.


Are you a municipal judge, court administrator, court clerk, or city attorney with questions about setting up or operating a juvenile case manager program?

Call to speak to one of the staff attorneys at TMCEC. 800-252-3718.

Texas Municipal Courts Education Center
2210 Hancock Drive
Austin, TX 78757

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Funded by a Grant from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals