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2018 Judicial Summit on Mental Health

The Judicial Commission on Mental Health (JCMH) partnered with the Supreme Court Children’s Commission to host the inaugural Judicial Summit on Mental Health on October 22-23, 2018, in Houston, Texas. The Summit represented the first conference of the JCMH, a joint commission by the Supreme Court of Texas and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The Summit drew leaders from across the state in the child welfare, juvenile justice, and criminal justice court systems to discuss and develop solutions to the many challenges faced by individuals in those courts systems with mental health or intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

Dr. Carol Nati will lay a foundation for the Summit by defining mental illness and IDD, describing common mental illnesses, reviewing adverse childhood experiences, and discussing how to interact with individuals with mental illness or IDD.

Presentation by:

Carol Nati, MHMR of Tarrant County, Pecan Valley Centers, and Helen Farabee Centers

In collaboration with national consulting firms and mental health professionals across the state, MMHPI revealed three populations in critical need of improvements to mental health care in Texas: veterans,
children, and those in our criminal justice system. In this presentation, Dr. Keller will discuss the commonalities in these populations and explore opportunities to create more proactive, integrated

Presentation by:

Andy Keller, PhD., Chief Executive Officer Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute for Texas

Specialty courts and dockets improve outcomes for those who have involvement in our courts by combining evidence-based practices for treatment and accountability. This presentation will offer ideas for
implementing a specialty court, developing standards of practice, and sharing resources to build on successes.

Presentation by:

Hon. Ruben Reyes, 72nd District Court, Lubbock & Crosby Counties

Diversion of people with mental illnesses from justice systems requires cooperation across judicial, correctional, and health systems. A major obstacle to such cooperation is confusion over confidentiality laws such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This presentation will provide a framework for resolving confidentiality questions and addressing specific issues that arise in the context
of the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM).

Presentation by:

John Petrila, Vice President of Adult Policy, The Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute

Judge Brent Carr will lead a panel of experts in a discussion of best practices and barriers they have encountered throughout the SIM. This session will provide actionable information to help individuals with mental health concerns and IDD in courtrooms and communities.


Hon. Brent Carr, Tarrant County Criminal Court No. 9


Hon. Nelda Cacciotti, Tarrant County

Major Mike Lee, Harris County Sheriff’s Dept.

Hon. Camile DuBose, Uvalde County

Beth Mitchell, Disability Rights TX

Alyse Ferguson, Collin County MHMC

Hon. Roxanne Nelson, Burnet County

Dr. Courtney Harvey, HHSC

Denise Oncken, Harris County District Attorney’s Office

Hon. Dave Jahn, Denton County 

Hon. Polly Spencer, Bexar County

Adrienne Kennedy, NAMI

Steve Wohleb, THA

Beth Lawson, StarCare Specialty Health System

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department will provide updates on each agency’s efforts to integrate the principles of trauma-informed care into each agency’s operations, programming, and culture.

Presentation by:

Kristene Blackstone, Associate Commissioner Child Protective Services, Texas Department of Family & Protective Services

Seth Christensen, Texas Juvenile Justice Department

If it seems like more young people are taking their lives these days, it’s true - the kids are not alright. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for youth and young adults ages 10-34. In Texas, one out of every eight high school students attempted suicide in 2017. At this interactive session, you will gain valuable information to identify potential risks and warning signs for suicide and develop skills to help
young people save their lives.

Presentation by:

Janet Pozmantier and Betsy Blanks, Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston

The saying “Nothing About Us Without Us” is often used by child welfare advocates to emphasize the importance of including youth with lived experience in decisions that impact their lives. This panel will discuss how to incorporate youth voice into organizational policy, day-to-day operations, and interaction with young people.


Christine Gendron, Texas Network of Youth Services


Charles Batiste, University of Houston

Justin Hayward, Texas Network of Youth Services: Young Adult Leadership Council

Dr. Sarah Narendorf, University of Houston

Dustin Rynders, Disability Rights Texas

A child-serving system cannot be truly trauma-informed without addressing the disproportionality and disparities felt by the children, youth, and families it serves. This session will encourage attendees to
confront complex challenges and identify opportunities to achieve racial equity.

Presentation by:

Sheila Craig, Texas Health and Human Services Commission

As leaders of their courts and communities, judges are well-positioned to successfully convene and engage stakeholders and solve multi-faceted problems. In this session, participants will receive practical tools for convening and developing local protocols focused on working with justice-system involved individuals with
mental health or IDD needs.

Presented by:

Kristi Taylor, Judicial Commission on Mental Health

The Statewide Collaborative on Trauma-Informed Care (SCTIC) aims to elevate trauma-informed policy in the Texas child welfare system by creating a statewide strategy to support system reform,
organizational leadership, cross-systems collaboration, and data-informed initiatives with sustainable funding. The SCTIC will convene for an update on the progress of the four workgroups and next steps
for the collaborative. All Summit participants are welcome to attend.

Presented by:

Hon. Darlene Byrne, 126th District Court

Katy Bourgeois, Mission Capital

Renee Encinias, Hope Rising Ministries

Christine Gendron, Texas Network of Youth Services

Andy Homer, Texas CASA