Appeal from the 35th District Court Brown County, Texas Trial
Court Cause No. CV 15-06-202.
consists of: Wright, C.J., Willson, J., and Bailey, J.
WRIGHT CHIEF JUSTICE
an appeal from an order in which the trial court terminated
the parental rights of the mother and the father of M.S. Both
parents appeal. The parents each present two issues in which
they challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the
termination of their parental rights. We affirm.
hearing the evidence presented in a trial de novo in this
case, the trial court terminated the parental rights of both
parents under Section 161.003 of the Family Code and
appointed the Department of Family and Protective Services as
the permanent managing conservator of the child. See
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.003 (West Supp. 2016).
Pursuant to Section 161.003(a), the trial court found that
the mother and the father had a mental or emotional illness
or a mental deficiency that rendered each parent unable to
provide for the physical, emotional, and mental needs of the
child; that the illness or deficiency, in all reasonable
probability, will continue to render each parent unable to
provide for the child's needs until the child's
eighteenth birthday; that the Department had made reasonable
efforts to return the child to the parents; and that
termination would be in the child's best interest.
See id. § 161.003(a).
their first issue, the parents challenge the sufficiency of
the evidence to support the trial court's findings that
the parents have a mental or emotional illness or a mental
deficiency that renders them unable to provide for M.S. In
their second issue, the parents challenge the sufficiency of
the evidence to support the trial court's findings that
the respective parent's illness or deficiency will
continue to render that parent unable to provide for M.S.
until she turns eighteen. Neither parent challenges the trial
court's findings as to the child's best interest.
termination of parental rights must be supported by clear and
convincing evidence. Id. § 161.206 (West 2014).
To determine if the evidence is legally sufficient in a
parental termination case, we review all of the evidence in
the light most favorable to the finding and determine whether
a rational trier of fact could have formed a firm belief or
conviction that its finding was true. In re J.P.B.,
180 S.W.3d 570, 573 (Tex. 2005). To determine if the evidence
is factually sufficient, we give due deference to the finding
and determine whether, on the entire record, a factfinder
could reasonably form a firm belief or conviction about the
truth of the allegations against the parent. In re
C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 25-26 (Tex. 2002).
record shows that the Department became involved with the
family when M.S. was born. At that time, the father was
incarcerated, and it was apparent that the mother was unable
to take care of her baby. A placement of the baby, along with
the mother, in the paternal grandmother's home was
attempted. However, that situation was unworkable. The mother
was not taking care of M.S., and the supervised visits
revealed that the mother was not capable of taking care of
M.S. The paternal grandmother believed that the mother would
never be able to parent M.S. on her own.
mother had been an MHMR client for
"years"-"since [she] was in school." She
has received disability checks since she was ten years old.
The psychological testing of the mother revealed that the
mother is mildly mentally retarded; that she has an
intellectual and mental health deficiency that renders her
unable to provide for the physical, emotional, nutritional,
and mental health needs of her child; that those deficits
will continue to render her unable to provide for her
child's needs "for the indefinite future and are
unlikely to be amenable to remediation"; and that the
mother should not "at this time or in the future"
be unsupervised with her daughter. Additionally, the
conservatorship caseworker, who had previously worked for
MHMR, had known the mother since the mother was in high
school and did not believe that the mother would be able to
raise M.S. by herself.
father testified that he could read and write and that he had
obtained a driver's license. Like the mother, the father
had been an MHMR client since he was a child. He graduated
from high school but was enrolled in special ed classes. The
father believed that he would be a capable parent.
father's mother indicated that she had adopted the father
when he was a small child and that the father's
biological mother was a low-functioning, mentally retarded
MHMR client. Just before the father turned eighteen, the
father's mother sought and was awarded permanent
guardianship of both the person and the estate of the father.
The guardianship order indicated that the father was
"totally without capacity . . . to care for himself, to
manage his property and financial affairs, to operate a motor
vehicle, and to vote in a public election." The
father's mother continued to be the father's guardian
at the time of the final hearing in this case, but she was
considering "dropping the guardianship." Although
the father's mother believed that the father would do
everything he could do to take care of M.S., she testified
that the father had a mental or emotional illness or mental
deficiency and that that deficiency rendered him unable to
provide for M.S.'s needs without some type of assistance.
licensed professional counselor testified that the father
continued to have problems with impulse control, fits of
anger, and uncontrollable rage. The father also engaged in
childlike or "magical" thinking; he was immature
and not realistic. The counselor noted that, in the past, the
father had had at least one psychiatric hospitalization and
had also lived in a group home.
Department produced direct, clear and convincing evidence
from which the trial court could reasonably have formed a
firm belief that the mother had a mental or emotional illness
or a mental deficiency that rendered her unable to provide
for the physical, emotional, and mental needs of M.S. and
that the mother's illness or deficiency, in all
reasonable probability, will continue to render the mother
unable to provide for M.S.'s needs until M.S.'s
eighteenth birthday. Although the evidence was less direct as
to the father, the Department nonetheless produced clear and
convincing evidence from which the trial court could
reasonably have formed a firm belief that the father had a
mental or emotional illness or a mental deficiency that
rendered him unable to provide for the physical, emotional,
and mental needs of M.S. and that the father's illness or
deficiency, in all reasonable probability, will continue to
render him unable to provide for M.S.'s needs until her
eighteenth birthday. Due to each parent's ...