F. Scott McCown

  • Clinical Professor
  • Director - Children's Rights Clinic


  • JD University of Texas at Austin
  • BS Texas Christian University

Areas of Specialty

F. Scott McCown is a Clinical Professor and Director of the Children’s Rights Clinic. From 1989 to 2002, he presided over a state district court of general jurisdiction, hearing a broad range of civil cases, including many public interest cases such as the state’s public school finance litigation. By special assignment, Judge McCown also presided over a child protection docket. In 1999, Judge McCown’s Petition in Behalf of the Forsaken Children of Texas to the Governor and 76th Legislature resulted in significantly increased state appropriations for Child Protective Services. He was recognized for this work with the 1999 Award for Leadership in Public Child Welfare by the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, an affiliate of the American Public Human Services Association, and the 2000 Leadership in Local Government Child Advocacy Award by the National Association of Child Advocates. He was also named the 2000 Texas CASA Judge of the Year. McCown is a member of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the American Law Institute. The Austin Bar Association presented him with its 2013 Distinguished Lawyer Award.

After retiring as a state district judge, McCown served as executive director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy institute working to address the challenges of low-income Texas children and families. In 2011 and 2005, while he was the center’s executive director, Texas Monthly named him to its list of the 25 most powerful people in Texas politics, calling him a “voice for the voiceless.” In 2007, the School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin presented McCown with its Vision and Valor Award of Distinction for exemplary accomplishments in the promotion of social justice.

Before serving as a judge, McCown was a special assistant attorney general and chief of the Criminal Law Enforcement Division, an assistant professor of law at the U.T. School of Law, and an associate at Vinson & Elkins. McCown earned a B.S. cum laude (Psychology) in 1976 from Texas Christian University and a J.D. with Honors in 1979 from The University of Texas School of Law, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif, the Order of Barristers, and the Editorial Board of the Texas Law Review.

Recent Publications

  • F. Scott McCown & Monica Leo, When Can an Agency Change the Findings or Conclusions of an Administrative Law Judge? Part Two, 51 Baylor Law Review 63 (1999).
  • F. Scott McCown & Monica Leo, When Can an Agency Change the Findings or Conclusions of an Administrative Law Judge?, 50 Baylor Law Review 65 (1998).

Full list of publications…

Recent Activities

  • Speaker and Panelist: Effective Representation of Children and Aged-Out Foster Youth: Beyond the Basics

    August 23, 2016

    State Bar CLE

    Sponsored by the Children's Commission

  • Into the Fold Podcast, Episode 27: Child Welfare in Texas

    August 15, 2016

    MH Daily, A Service of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

  • Invited Testimony on Interim Charges Related to CPS

    July 12, 2016

    Texas House Human Services Committee

Full activities list…