Court Appointed Family Advocates

2017 Travis County CPS Docket Changes


I wanted to be sure to send a summary to CAFA of the events that will soon take place for CPS dockets. Attached you will find an example of the new way in which the Court will organize dockets to better facilitate our growing needs. The transition for all of these changes is tentatively scheduled to occur on September 1, 2017. The Court is still in the process of planning and finalizing the proposed changes.
Here is the tentative plan, as of now:
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Mondays—Judge Byrne (JDB) and Myself (JAMJ) will set ALL CONTESTED MATTERS on Monday mornings and run them, dual-docket style, in our respective courts until we run out of cases or run out of time. This will match the Central Docket model we have here in Travis County (i.e. our Civil and Family Law Dockets that have docket call in the morning immediately followed by commencement of hearings). If a case is not reached or will not be reached the options are for that case to go onto the Family Law docket or to be set later in the week whenever JDB or JAMJ may have available time.
Tuesdays—JDB will hold a Show Cause docket for her new cases in the morning and then all other Statutory Hearings (TMC/Conservatorship Reviews) in the afternoon. JAMJ may have available time for any contested matters that were not reached on Monday.
Wednesdays—JAMJ will hold a Show Cause docket for her new cases in the morning and then all other Statutory Hearings (TMC/Conservatorship Reviews) in the afternoon. JDB may have available time for any contested matters that were not reached on Monday.
Thursdays—No changes are made to Thursdays. JAMJ will continue to hear Drug Court cases each week and JDB will hear the Crossover Docket every other week.
FridaysWe will follow the one-judge, one-family model with PMC and COS cases. JDB and JAMJ will hear PMC or COS cases each morning. The Judges will alternate each week which docket they are hearing so that the same units from CPS are not in both courts at the same time. No hearings will be set in the afternoon. Either Judge may have available time in the afternoon for any contested matters that were not reached on Monday.
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In order to achieve this new system of running the CPS dockets we have formed several committees to plan out the logistics, details, and transition. Those committees need members so ANY CAFA MEMBERS INTERESTED IN BEING ON THE COMMITTEES ARE INVITED TO JOIN. Those committees are as follows:
Court Teams Committee: Chaired by JAMJ. This committee is tasked with exploring ways in which it may be possible to utilize Court Teams with the new docket system so that all professionals’ time is most efficiently used. Primarily, this team will seek to split the CPS Appointment wheel into two wheels with attorneys being assigned either to JDB or JAMJ. The desire is that the same attorneys would be on the same dockets and available otherwise at the same time to schedule out of court meetings and mediations. If interested in serving on this committee please email: April.Morton@traviscountytx.gov
Transitions Committee: Chaired by JDB. This committee is tasked with working out details for how the transitions will occur and deadlines for the other committees to complete work in order to meet the goal of transition of dockets by September 1. Unanticipated consequences are to be explored by this committee as well as resolution to any conflicts this transition may cause. This committee will also discuss the best ways in which to re-assign PMC and COS cases to achieve full dockets for each Judge by September 1. If interested in serving on this committee please email:  Anna.Rodriguez@traviscountytx.gov
Submission Docket Committee: Chaired by Katy Gallagher Parker. This committee is tasked with exploring how to best set up and utilize a Submission Docket for each Judge. They will discuss what type of matters are appropriate for a submission docket and plan out the process for sending matters to the submission docket. Additionally, this committee will review all current orders regularly filed in our CPS cases and discuss any updates/changes that may be required with the new docket system. The possibility for a scheduling order in TMC cases will also be discussed. If interested in serving on this committee please email: Anna.Rodriguez@traviscountytx.gov
I am also working with Court IT and the District Clerk’s office on technological improvements to our CPS dockets (i.e. a better way to draft and circulate orders in the courtroom, making orders accessible to parties as soon as possible, a notice system on the monitors for showing which cases are going to be heard next, etc.). There is not a need for additional members to this group but I do want ideas! If anyone has an idea about technological advances in our CPS dockets, please email them to April.Morton@traviscountytx.gov and I will compile these ideas to see what changes and advances we might be able to make.
My final thought is, although I invite CAFA folks to join my Court Teams Committee, I know there are going to be so many opinions and perspectives that the few who are able to be on that committee might not fully represent all the issues that need to be discussed. Thus, I would like the CAFA Board to know I am more than happy to visit with the entire CAFA membership at a meeting to have an open discussion about thoughts, concerns, opinions, and fears with moving to a Court Teams approach.
Thanks so much and let me know if you have any questions!
Aurora Martinez Jones
Associate Judge
Travis County District Courts
1000 Guadalupe, 5th Floor
Austin, Texas 78701
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1748
Austin, Texas 78767