In the 81st Regular Legislative Session (way back in 2009), a new requirement was placed upon municipal judges to complete minimum education related to child welfare and the Individuals with Disabilites Education Act (IDEA).
What is the IDEA?
IDEA is the federal law enacted with the goal of providing full educational opportunities to all students with disabilities in the United States. Those full educational opportunities are provided in public schools through special education programs. Therefore, IDEA serves as the basis for all special education programs in every public school in Texas. More specific to courts, the IDEA helps ensure certain rights to special education children who may be adversely affected by disciplinary proceedings in the juvenile justice system.
What is the requirement for education related to the IDEA?
House Bill 1793 established additional education requirements by mandating that every judge who handles juveniles charged with fine-only offenses complete a two hour course of instruction related to understanding the relevant issues of child welfare and the IDEA in every judicial academic year ending in 0 or 5. This requirement became effective on September 1, 2009, but any judge who was in office on the effective date was exempt from the training for the 2010 academic year. Therefore, many municipal judges are encountering this required training for the first time this academic year.
Can I meet this requirement through my TMCEC judicial educations this year?
Yes, TMCEC offers you multiple options for satisfying this requirement. Here are your options:
How do I report this requirement?
Judges who fulfill the requirement at a live Regional Seminar, will be able to indicate they have met the requirement on the Record of Attendance. Judges who watch the webinar and complete an evaluation will receive a certificate that will be used to report the completion of the training. Judges who attend the clinic will sign in and this will be used to indicate that participants will meet the requirement. Judges who watch the video on the online learning center may submit an affirmation of completion or a certificate available on the IDEA and child welfare page.