IN THE INTEREST OF I. J.-S. A., A CHILD
Appeal from the 313th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2015-04683J
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Brown and
Radack Chief Justice
challenges the trial court's determination that
termination of her parental rights to her minor daughter,
I.J.-S.A, was in the child's best interest. We affirm.
her pregnancy, Mother was unemployed and lived with her
mother, Shazan. She gave birth to I.J.-S.A. on June 15, 2015.
The hospital made a referral to the Department of Family and
Protective Services because both I.J.-S.A. and Mother tested
positive for PCP in their system immediately after birth.
Mother admitted to taking narcotics early in her pregnancy,
but claimed that she had not been using PCP; she was only
around other people using it.
Department offered Mother family-based services and agreed to
place I.J.-S.A. with Mother and Shazan, so long as they
agreed that Mother was not to be left alone with I.J-S.A. The
Department later asked Mother to move out of the house
because she continued to take PCP. She was allowed to visit
during the day, so long as her visits were supervised by
the Department discovered that Shazan was still allowing
Mother to stay at the house and be unsupervised with
I.J.-S.A., the Department sought to identify another
potential relative placement. The only name the family
provided was for Mother's brother, who was on probation
for drug charges and an inappropriate caregiver candidate.
I.J.-S.A. was moved into foster care. Mother committed a
theft on August 18, 2015-just a few days after I.J.-S.A. was
removed, for which she pleaded guilty and went to jail.
service plan required her to, among other things, participate
in parenting classes, substance-abuse treatment, and submit
to drug tests. It is undisputed that she did not comply with
many of the service-plan requirements, and she continued to
engage in risky behavior. For example, she presented to the
MHMR Eligibility Center for a psychiatric assessment, but was
discharged for inappropriate behavior, including-among other
things-taking Xanax and providing Xanax to other patients. In
October of 2015, Mother committed another theft and was again
sentenced to jail time.
identified Father for the Department. When contacted, he
expressed doubt about whether I.J.-S.A. was his, and the
court ordered DNA testing. On November 10, 2015, that DNA
testing confirmed parentage, and the trial court signed an
order establishing Father's paternity on January 14,
2016. Father maintained that he could not take care of
I.J.-S.A. because he was busy with school and work.
continued to fail drug screens. She was indicted again on a
new theft charge in July 2016. At the time of the termination
trial, she was in jail.
testified at trial that she hoped to get clean after she was
released from jail and regain possession of I.J.-S.A. She
stated she bought I.J.-S.A. clothes, a pacifier, and things
that I.J.-S.A. might need when she was able to visit
I.J.-S.A. Mother testified to her belief that, when she got
out of jail, she could provide a safe and stable environment
for the I.J-S.A. She stated she would also try to get a job
and, in the meantime, she hoped Shazan would be considered as
a possible placement.
acknowledged the foster parents had been taking care of her
daughter for a long time and were doing a very good job.
Department caseworker stated that I.J.-S.A. was doing very
well in her foster placement. The placement family meets all
of the child's physical and emotional needs and were
willing to adopt the child. The caseworker also explained
that the home study on Shazan's house was denied.
foster mother testified that I.J.-S.A. had been in their home
for over 16 months, and she was happy and doing very well in
their home. I.J.-S.A. knows her foster parents as
"mamma" and "daddy." The foster mother
testified that they love I.J.-S.A. very much and intend to