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In re D.D.G.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

January 23, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF D.D.G., A CHILD

FROM THE 323RD DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY. HON. LUCY JEAN H. BOYD.

FOR APPELLANT: RICHARD A. GLADSTONE, FORT WORTH, TX.

FOR APPELLEE: JOE SHANNON, JR., CRIMINAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY; CHARLES M. MALLIN, ASSISTANT CRIMINAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CHIEF OF THE APPELLATE SECTION; COLBY RIDEOUT AND MARVINA ROBINSON, ASSISTANT CRIMINAL DISTRICT ATTORNEYS FOR TARRANT COUNTY, FORT WORTH, TX.

PANEL: LIVINGSTON, C.J.; DAUPHINOT and GARDNER, JJ.

OPINION

Page 469

ANNE GARDNER, JUSTICE.

Appellant K.H. (Mother) appeals the judgment terminating her parental rights to D.D.G. (Daniel).[1] Mother raises two issues. First, she contends the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support the trial court's statutory endangerment findings and its finding that Mother was the cause of a child being born addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance. Second, she argues the evidence is legally insufficient to support the trial court's finding

Page 470

that Mother had previously had her parental rights terminated with respect to another child when this termination suit was filed.[2] We affirm.

I. Background

Mother was thirty-three years old at the time of the final trial on the Department's petition seeking termination of her parental rights. Mother testified she had four children, Daniel, Sarah, Beth, and Jeremiah, and was eight months pregnant with her fifth child. Sarah, Mother's oldest child, was twelve years old and had lived with her grandparents since she was two years old because of Mother's alcohol abuse. Beth and Jeremiah had been placed in foster care because of Mother's methamphetamine use. Mother's rights to Beth and Jeremiah were terminated in February 2013.[3]

Mother began using methamphetamine when she was sixteen or seventeen years old. Mother believed her addiction to methamphetamine began after two to three years of use. Mother smoked methamphetamine throughout her entire pregnancy with Daniel. When Daniel was born on October 14, 2012, Mother and Daniel each tested positive for methamphetamine. On October 15, 2012, the Department filed a petition requesting emergency protective orders, temporary managing conservatorship, and termination of both parents' parental rights. The trial court entered an ex parte order for protection naming the Department as the temporary sole managing conservator of Daniel. When Daniel was ready to be released from the hospital, the Department placed Daniel in foster care. Daniel remained in foster care during the pendency of the case.

Mother testified that she was aware Daniel tested positive for methamphetamine at birth, and she attributed the positive test to her methamphetamine use during her pregnancy. Mother claimed she regretted using drugs during her pregnancy with Daniel and stated that if she could do things over again, she would not use drugs during her pregnancy. Even though Daniel was placed in foster care shortly after his birth in October 2012 because of Mother's drug use, Mother was unable to stop using methamphetamine completely. Mother testified that even after her rights to Beth and Jeremiah were terminated in February 2013 because of her methamphetamine use, she continued to use methamphetamine. According to Mother, she quit using methamphetamine five months prior to the August 2013 termination trial in this case.

Mother agreed that her life had gone into a " downward spiral" since she started using methamphetamine and that her drug use led to the loss of her children. Mother testified she had never been in intensive drug treatment, but given her approximately sixteen to seventeen years of drug use, she conceded that she might need intensive drug treatment. Mother stated, however, that she had no current desire to go into drug treatment because she was clean and had not used drugs in the five months preceding trial. Mother could not recall the last time she had taken a ...


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