Meeting the S.B. 61 Mandate
What is S.B. 61?
S.B. 61, effective June 17, 2011, is a change in Texas law passed during the 82nd Regular Legislature that mandates the establishment 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. The passage of S.B. 61 occurred near the 10 year anniversary of the legislation authorizing local governments to employ juvenile case managers.
Juvenile case managers work predominantly in local trial courts of limited jurisdiction (i.e., municipal and justice courts) that adjudicate Class C misdemeanors. The mandate for training standards for juvenile case managers comes at a time in which local trial courts adjudicate more children than juvenile courts and district courts combined. (See, Exhibit A: The Texas Juvenile Justice Continuum.)
The legislative history for S.B. 61 states in part:
S.B. 61 seeks to establish minimum training and educational standards for juvenile case managers, including case planning and management; juvenile law; courtroom proceedings and presentations; law enforcement proceedings; local programs and services, including access procedures; code of ethics and disciplinary procedures; and detecting and preventing abuse, exploitation, and neglect of children. This training will create consistency across court systems and enable juvenile case managers to be more effective in their intended role as part court clerk, part probation officer, and part social worker.
Not later than December 1, 2011, the governing body of a governmental entity that employs a juvenile case manager under Article 45.056, Code of Criminal Procedure, is required to adopt minimum training and education standards for juvenile case managers.
The Formulation of the S.B. 61 Special Workgroup
S.B. 61 is a unique piece of legislation that poses similar challenges for governing bodies that employ juvenile case managers. While the legislation provides certain parameters relating to minimum education and training standards, it leaves many important details to be determined by local governments.
At the request of municipalities with juvenile case manager programs and support from a supplemental grant from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC) assembled a special workgroup to create a “tool box” of resources that local governing bodies can utilize in meeting the mandate of S.B. 61.
The regionally diverse interdisciplinary workgroup consisted of juvenile case managers, judges, court administrators, city attorneys, social workers, probation officers, academics, and others with experience in the development of curriculum and training in the area of juvenile justice, criminal justice, and judicial branch education.
Disclaimer About the Content of this Website
Juvenile case managers are a relative new concept in Texas law. In meeting the S.B. 61 mandate local governments are authorized to make decisions in light of local circumstances. The resources provided on this website are merely intend as a resource for local governments to utilize in adopting reasonable rules relating to the minimum standards for juvenile case managers. The documents featured here were drafted to be adapted by local governments. This is especially important in instances where recommendations are made. All local governments are encouraged to confer with local legal counsel with specific legal questions.