IN THE INTEREST OF A.W. AND B.M.W., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 314th District Court Harris County, Texas,
Trial Court Case No. 2014-04355J
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Bland and
appeal, we determine whether legally and factually sufficient
evidence supports an order terminating J.D.W.'s parental
rights to his two children. We affirm.
mother and father first came to the Department of Family
Protective Services' attention in early 2013, when A.W.
was a few months old and the family was living at a hotel.
One day, the mother and father were using marijuana and began
fighting. The paternal grandmother, who lived nearby,
testified that police came to her home late that night
looking for the father. She told police he was not there and
that she had not had any contact from him. The paternal
grandmother then checked her cell phone and found numerous
texts from the father and a picture of his bruised and
swollen face. After reviewing the texts, the police left to
continue their search for the father. They found him in the
bed of a truck parked near a motel. He was holding A.W., who
was very dirty. He explained that he came to the motel to
stay with a friend who lived there, but when he found his
friend was not at home, he decided to wait for him in his
incident resulted in a referral to the Department for
neglectful supervision. The Department brought suit against
the parents and took A.W. into custody. The parents
participated in the Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS)
program, which included psychosocial assessments, domestic
violence and anger management courses, and parenting classes.
second child, B.M.W., was born during this period.
parents completed the safety services program in July 2014,
when B.M.W. was nearly three months old. The Department
dismissed the suit and returned custody of A.W. to the
week later, in early August 2014, the parents had gone out
for dinner and drinks to celebrate the mother's promotion
at work. They picked up A.W. and B.M.W. from the grandmother,
who cared for the children while the parents worked, and
returned home. The mother and the grandmother had a very
contentious relationship. Shortly after arriving home, the
mother told the father that she had enrolled the children in
day care and that they would not be staying with the
grandmother during the day anymore. This sparked a heated
argument. Shortly after the argument began, the father called
the grandmother to have her pick up A.W. and B.M.W. so that
they would not have to be around while the parents argued.
the grandmother arrived, she saw broken glass in the entryway
of the apartment. She picked up A.W. and the father got
B.M.W., and they brought the children out to the
grandmother's sport utility vehicle. They were strapping
the children into their carseats when the mother came into
the parking lot and demanded the baby's return. According
to the grandmother, the mother appeared intoxicated and was
yelling obscenities. The mother went over to the SUV, shoved
the grandmother out of the way, and pulled out B.M.W.'s
carseat, while B.M.W was not buckled into it. B.M.W. ended up
on the pavement outside of the car seat. The grandmother did
not see whether B.M.W. fell or simply rolled out of the
carseat, and the mother testified that she caught B.M.W.
before she landed on the pavement.
mother took B.M.W. back into the apartment, and the father
followed her while shouting at the grandmother to call 9-1-1.
The grandmother called 9-1-1 and went into the apartment to
check on B.M.W., but the parents had locked the bedroom door
and would not let her in. The grandmother went back outside
to wait for the emergency responders. When the responders
arrived, they also attempted to enter the bedroom but were
rebuffed. Law enforcement was called in. They retrieved
B.M.W., who was examined and found unharmed.
explain the broken glass in the entry way, the father told
the investigating officer that the mother broke a glass vase
and cut herself. At trial, however, he explained that he
inadvertently swung his arm and knocked a glass off the
counter earlier that evening.
Department initially placed the children with the paternal
grandmother. They remained in the grandmother's home for
several months, until shortly before trial, when the
grandmother asked for the children to be placed in a foster
home. She explained that she was being harassed by the
mother, who kept sending her threatening text messages, and
she also was concerned that she was too old to be able to
care for them until they were grown; she did not want them to
have to be uprooted again. The Department placed the children
with foster parents who planned to adopt the children.
in late October 2014, the trial court ordered the parents to
comply with the family service plan, which required, among
other things, that the father pay child support, remain
"sober/drug free, " and submit to random drug
trial court presided over a bench trial in the proceeding on
October 29, 2015 and signed a decree terminating the
father's parental rights on December 1, 2015 based on
subsections 161.001(1)(E) and 161.001(1)(O) of the Texas
father and mother both timely appealed from the decree. This
court reviewed the mother's appellate complaints in a
prior decision, concluding that the evidence supported the
trial court's judgment terminating her parental rights.
In re A.W., No. 01-15-01030-CV, 2016 WL 3022824
(Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist] May 26, 2016, no pet.). The
appellate attorney first appointed to the father moved to
withdraw from representation and filed a brief pursuant to
Anders v. California,386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396
(1967), asserting that the appeal lacked merit and the record
presented no arguable grounds for reversal of the judgment.
We disagreed with that assessment, so we severed the
father's appeal, granted the motion to withdraw, and
remanded to the trial court for the appointment of new