Hill Country Ad Litem Seminar

The Child Protection Court of South Texas

and Hill Country CASA

are pleased to announce THE

11th Annual hill country Ad Litem Seminar

february 25-26, 2021 via zoom videoconference


click here to register for the 2021 seminar!


General information / Faqs for attendees

The Seminar is 12 continuing education hours, over 2 days.

CLEs – Attorneys will need to self-report their hours this year. We will provide the course number during the Seminar. If you missed it, email Amy Harding, HCCASA Volunteer Coordinator, amy@hccasa.org. We are including 3 ethics hours in our request to the State Bar and will provide an update here when our application has been approved.

CEUs – If you need a certificate for submission to TEA or other CEU credentialing agency, contact amy@hccasa.org.

CASA CE hours – All CASAs who attend both days of the Seminar will meet their annual CASA continuing education requirement. If your program requires a certificate for your attendance, contact amy@hccasa.org.

If you missed a session OR want to take the Seminar at-your-own-pace – your registration will include access to the Seminar’s video showcase for 12 months following the Seminar, under password protection (password will be provided during the Seminar).



more information about each session, including handouts and materials will be posted below as they come available.

during the live event, a 30 minute break will be provided between each session, and 1 hour midday for lunch.


Thursday’s schedule (6.0 CLE):

8:30 AM – The Opioid Crisis and it’s Impact on Children and families (Dr. Elizabeth Oehler – Emergency Room Physician, Peterson Regional Medical Center, Kerrville)

Dr. Oehler will help participants understand why people use illicit substances and how these affect the body with regards to decision making, protective ability, judgement, risk taking and parenting. Dr. Oehler will talk about what addiction really is, if willpower is enough for an addict to stop using substances, and what the addict needs to remain sober. This discussion will also explore what makes people more likely to become addicted, and preferred treatment options based on substances used.

10:30 AM – Psychotropic Medications (Dr. Lizmarie Gonzales-Vega – Medical Director, Clarity Child Guidance Center, San Antonio)

Dr. Gonzalez-Vega will guide participants through the different types of psychotropic medications available and how they work. Dr. Gonzalez-Vega will discuss best practices for balancing medication and therapy when working with adolescents who have experienced trauma. This discussion will also explore ways to communicate with prescribing physicians, so that they have an understanding of the CPS case permanency goal.

1:30 pM – Healing the Family when substance abuse is a case factor (Kristen Walker, B.S., LCDC – formerly with La Hacienda treatment center, Hunt)

Ms. Walker will discuss how the family (including children) are impacted by addiction, provide relapse statistics, and share various consequences if the entire family is not included in treatment planning and support. This discussion will include steps to processing and healing the family, how to recognize and react to relapse, and how to support sobriety.

3:30 PM – effective client engagement in child abuse and neglect cases (Sonja Sims, J.D. – partner at sims & purzer, attorneys at law, san antonio)

Ms. Simms will discuss best practices in legal case management, practice management, and CPS case workflow. This topic will focus on enhancing the quality and efficiency of service to clients by delivering effective legal services and building the attorney/client relationship.


friday’s schedule (6.0 CLE):

8:30 AM – family first prevention services act panel discussion (panelists from Casey Family services, san antonio)

Panelists will provide a national-level update on the Families First Prevention Act, and will discuss  Texas’ latest actions regarding this federal legislation. The panelists will also discuss the current state of affairs at CPS, and what is on the horizon for Texas foster youth.

11:00 AM – case law update (Eric Tai, J.D. and other dFPS regional attorneys, CPS Region 8)

The TDFPS Appellate Attorneys will provide a case law update.

1:00 PM – community based care providers panel Discussion (contract providers from oCOK – Region 3B, 2Ingage – Region 2, and family tapestry – Region 8A)

Community Based Care contract providers from OCOK, 2Ingage and Family Tapestry will share their successes and challenges as Texas transitions to privatized foster care, and best practices and things to consider as more regions in Texas move toward the private foster care model. They will also share what’s on the horizon for their agencies, and the Texas foster youth in their regions.

3:30 PM – special presentation from child protection court of south texas (Honorable Robert Falkenberg, presiding over kerr, kendall, bandera, gillespie, uvalde, medina and real counties)



2021 Seminar Attendee Evaluation will be posted here once the seminar begins.