July 24, 2015 – University of Houston Law Center alumna Darlene Byrne ’87, judge of the 126th District Court in Austin, will be inducted next week as president of a national organization of juvenile and family law judges.
Byrne previously served as treasurer, secretary, and board member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges which has a membership of more than 1,900 judges and other professionals. She will assume her new role at the organization’s 78th annual conference July 26 – 29 in Austin.
“The issues facing families and children in this country, especially those suffering from poverty, is a lack of adequate preventative services to keep families out of juvenile justice court, domestic violence court and child welfare courts,” Byrne said.
“With more affordable and readily accessible mental health services, drug treatment services, access to nutritious and affordable food, affordable housing and quality public transportation, many of the families in crisis that find themselves in front of family court judges today would not be there.
“The court system in this country is the most expensive way to deliver services to families but oftentimes, it is the only way for a family to access much needed services for themselves and their children. This must change.”
Byrne was elected to the bench in 2000 and has managed the Travis County Child Protective Services dockets for more than seven years, hearing and overseeing cases involving more than 1,200 children in the dependency system with the assistance of an associate judge. She also serves as vice-chair of the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission on Children, Youth, and Families. Prior to serving on the bench, she practiced law for 13 years in the areas of employment, commercial and governmental entity litigation.
Byrne graduated magna cum laude from the Law Center where she was a member of the Order of the Coif and worked on the Houston Law Review.