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In re G.G.C.

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

May 2, 2017


         On Appeal from the 314th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2015-05388J

          Panel consists of Justices Keyes, Bland, and Huddle.



         After a bench trial, the trial court terminated the parent-child relationship between appellant, E.N.G., and her six children, G.G.C., E.G.C., R.G.C., K.S.G.M., K.M.G.M., and K.E.G.M. The mother challenges the order terminating her parental rights, contending that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support the termination under Texas Family Code section 161.001(1)(E), (L), and (O), and under Family Code section 161.001(2). We affirm.


         E.N.G. is the twenty-six year old mother of six children under age ten: G.G.C., E.G.C., R.G.C., K.S.G.M., K.M.G.M., and K.E.G.M. Three children, G.G.C., E.G.C., and R.G.C., are boys while the other three, K.S.G.M., K.M.G.M., and K.E.G.M., are girls. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services contacted the mother in January 2011, after it had received a report of negligent supervision. The report alleged that the mother had left the boys with a babysitter and failed to return, despite the fact that one of the boys required medical attention. DFPS workers could not further investigate the report because the mother denied caseworkers any access to the children.

         DFPS workers investigated a second referral in August 2011. Caseworkers ruled out physical abuse at the time.

         A third referral occurred in June 2012 when R.G.C., who was under age two, swallowed a rock of crack cocaine. The mother took R.G.C. to the hospital, where she told medical personnel that R.G.C. had consumed an unknown white substance. When R.G.C. tested positive for cocaine, the mother attempted to remove R.G.C. from the hospital against medical advice. She seized R.G.C. and carried him while running through the street, where a car nearly struck them. As a result of this incident, the mother was convicted of child endangerment and received a sentence of four years' deferred adjudication. The trial court in the criminal case later revoked the mother's probation and sentenced her to six months' confinement because the mother had failed to comply with the terms of her community supervision.

         This incident also led to DFPS's temporary managing conservatorship of the children. The children were returned to the mother in October 2013.

         DFPS initiated the current termination proceedings in response to three additional reports received in April and May 2015. The reports alleged that the mother did not adequately supervise the children, sold drugs out of the home, and appeared disinterested in the children's education. The reports further alleged that the children lived in deplorable conditions, did not bathe regularly, and had poor hygiene, and that one of the children had been sexually abused by a sibling.

         In May 2015, a DFPS investigator attempted to meet with the mother at her apartment, but no one was there. The landlord admitted the investigator into the home. The investigator discovered that conditions were deplorable: she found broken windows, expired food in the refrigerator, a foul odor, and gnats inside the home. The landlord told the investigator that the mother was unable to care for her children and had boasted of an attempt to steal a car.

         After the home visit, DFPS interviewed the mother's friend Margo as well as Maria Sanchez, the paternal grandmother of some of the children. Both claimed that the mother sold drugs out of the home. On May 29, 2015, the mother tested positive for marijuana.

         Although the mother refused to meet with DFPS in her home, she met with an investigator at her place of work in August 2015. At the meeting, the mother confirmed the location of her apartment complex, but told the investigator that she did not know the number of her apartment. The mother reported that she did not have a vehicle, she earned a salary of $300 per week, her apartment lacked furniture, and she did not know whether all of her children had received their vaccinations. The DFPS recommended that the mother participate in counseling, substance abuse treatment, and random drug tests, but the mother refused to complete these services.

         In September 2015, DFPS petitioned for temporary removal of the children from the home, which the trial court granted in October 2015. The order stated that the mother's parental rights could be terminated if she did not meet each requirement set out ...

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