FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 02/07/2011
Walle Files Bills to Implement Best Practices in Our Courts to Get Kids Back on Track
AUSTIN -- State Representative Armando Walle (Houston) filed legislation to promote best practices in municipal and justice of the peace (JP) courts to ensure that at-risk kids have the resources they need to stay in school.
House Bill 350 will allow judges to permit juveniles charged with Class C misdemeanors at school to dispose of their sentences with community service or tutoring hours, in lieu of paying a fine. House Bill 408 creates minimum standards for juvenile case managers, and House Bill 409 places juvenile case managers under the supervision of a judge.
"Disciplinary problems are a red flag that tell us a child is at risk of dropping out of school," said Rep. Walle. "Since many of these young people end up in our municipal and JP courts, it's important for our courts to offer consequences, like community service and tutoring hours, that appropriately address the discipline problems while helping these students to stay in school."
The intended role of a juvenile case manager is to ensure that each youth processed in municipal and JP courts receives an assessment and has access to needed services. Juvenile case managers are intended to serve as a bridge between the municipal or JP courts and the juvenile court system. Under current law, there are no requirements or standards for educating or training juvenile case managers. House Bill 408 and House Bill 409, authored by Rep. Walle, will help provide juvenile case managers with proper training and well-defined management structures to more effectively fill their intended roles.
"Creating an effective framework for juvenile case managers can be key to helping youth and their families get back on the right track," stated Rep. Walle. "Ensuring that our courts remain efficient, and that our court-involved youth and their families receive needed support, will have positive outcomes that will enrich the broader community."
Rep. Armando Walle is serving his second term in the Texas House of Representatives. He represents House District 140, which includes portions of unincorporated North Harris County and the City of Houston.