Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
IN THE INTEREST OF P.V. AND A.V., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 100th District Court Childress County, Texas
Trial Court No. 10, 561, Honorable Stuart Messer, Presiding
QUINN, CJ., and CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.
Quinn Chief Justice.
" the fictitious name we will use for the biological
father of P.V. and A.V., appeals the trial court's order
terminating his parental rights. He contends that the
evidence was insufficient to support the trial court's
finding that termination was in the best interest of the
children. We affirm.
Texas Family Code allows a court to terminate the
relationship between a parent and a child if the party
seeking termination establishes (1) one or more acts or
omissions enumerated under § 161.001(b)(1) and (2)
termination of that relationship is in the child's best
interest. In re H.W., No. 07-16-00294-CV, 2016
Tex.App. LEXIS 12846, at *4 (Tex. App.-Amarillo Dec. 5, 2016,
no pet.) (mem. op.); see Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
161.001(b)(1)-(2) (West Supp. 2016). Both elements must be
established by "clear and convincing
evidence." See In re H.W., 2016
Tex.App. LEXIS 12846, at *4. That standard is met when the
evidence of record "will produce in the mind of the
trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of
the allegations sought to be established." Id.
at *5. In reviewing whether the evidence is sufficient to do
that, we apply the tests described in In re K.M.L,
443 S.W.3d 101, 112-13 (Tex. 2014), and In re K.V.,
No. 07-16-00188-CV, 2016 Tex.App. LEXIS 11091, at *6-8 (Tex.
App- Amarillo Oct. 11, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.). And, in
applying those tests to the finding of best interest, we
compare the evidentiary record to the factors itemized in
Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367, 372 (Tex.
trial court found that the evidence established two statutory
grounds warranting termination. One involved Aaron engaging
in conduct or knowingly placing the child with persons who
engaged in conduct that endangered the physical or emotional
well-being of the child, see Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
§ 161.001(b)(1)(E), and the other involved Aaron
knowingly engaging in criminal conduct that resulted in a
criminal conviction, imprisonment, and the inability to care
for the child for not less than two years from the date of
filing the petition, see id. §
161.001(b)(1)(Q). Those findings are not attacked on appeal.
Moreover, the evidence upon which they are based may be
considered when determining whether the best interest of the
child warranted termination. See In re C.H., 89
S.W.3d at 28.
the record contains the following evidence. Aaron is
currently serving three concurrent twenty-five-year sentences
in Oklahoma. The sentences were assessed as a result of his
two convictions for robbery with a firearm and one conviction
for attempted robbery with a firearm. According to two of the
judgments, he will have to serve a minimum of 85% of the
twenty-five-year sentence, and he began serving those
sentences in 2014. By the time the remainder of the terms is
served, the children at issue will be adults. Yet, these were
not his only convictions or arrests. Others included
burglary, family violence committed against the mother of
P.V. and A.V., interfering with an emergency call, and
delivering a controlled substance.
least one witness, the Department caseworker, testified that
Aaron cannot provide for the physical and emotional needs of
P.V. or A.V. Nor can he provide a stable home for them,
according to the same witness. The latter also testified that
Aaron's criminal activity, which included the assault
charges, posed both a physical and emotional danger to the
children, now and in the future. Aaron also had a history of
substance abuse and lacked adequate parenting skills to
provide for the children. At least one controlled substance
was also abused by the mother of A.V. and P.V. And though no
evidence suggests that Aaron engaged in sexual improprieties
with the children, they and their sister, D. N.C., did inform
their interviewer when undergoing psychological evaluation
that other family members committed such acts upon them.
communication with and about the children has been minimal.
He sent three letters to the Department about them and two
letters to the children themselves, between September of 2015
and August of 2016. Though Aaron gave the Department the
names of family members who could serve as alternate
placements, two were deemed inappropriate. One of those
deemed inappropriate was his mother, and she was so deemed
because Aaron himself grew up in the child protective system.
In other words, her ability to properly raise her own
children was questionable. Another family member, the
children's paternal aunt, had custody of the children for
some time during the investigation but was also later deemed
an inappropriate placement. The Department's goal is to
have the children adopted into the same family.
undergoing psychological examination, P.V. and A.V. voiced
strong sentiment against being in the presence of their
paternal aunt, according to the interviewer. P.V. also
illustrated much anger towards her mother, though she did say
she missed Aaron. The evaluator also testified that (1)
Aaron's violence was "a pattern" witnessed by
the children that could continue and (2) it was in the best
interests of the two children to have Aaron's parental
and P.V. have bonded to the adults in their current placement
and are thriving. They are also adjusting to the supervision
and rules that were not consistently present before placement
in the foster home. So too are they improving in school.
Additionally, the people with whom they reside have the
ability to provide for their emotional needs.
considering the evidence of record under the standard
enunciated in In re K.M.L. and comparing it to the
Holley factors, we conclude that it was more than
ample for a fact-finder to form a firm conviction or belief
that termination was in the best interests of P.V. and A.V.
The evidence is both legally and factually sufficient to
support the trial ...