IN THE INTEREST OF N.N.M. AND R.B.A. III, CHILDREN
Appeal from the 314th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2016-00274J
consists of Justices Higley, Bland, and Brown.
bench trial, the trial court terminated the parental rights
of M.V., the biological mother of N.N.M and R.B.A. III. The
mother appeals the termination decree. She concedes that
sufficient evidence supports the predicate grounds found by
the trial court to support termination of her parental
rights, but contends that the evidence is legally and
factually insufficient to support the trial court's
finding that termination was in the children's best
interest. We affirm.
April 2014, the Department received two referrals concerning
the mother's treatment of the older child, who was then
about nine months old. The first referral alleged that the
mother was using drugs and in a physically abusive
relationship. These behaviors placed the child in jeopardy.
The referral cites one instance in which the mother's
paramour threw a brick through the mother's car window
while the older child was in the car.
second referral contained allegations that the mother
neglected and physically abused the older child. The mother
reportedly was using mind-altering substances and tested
positive for marijuana. The child lost weight in the
mother's care, was unclothed, had bruising on "a
vital body area, " and had untreated diaper rash. The
investigation resulted in findings against the mother that
supported a reason to believe neglectful supervision and
Department initiated Family-Based Safety Services (FBSS) and
placed the child with her godparent. The mother, who by then
was pregnant with the younger child, performed the services
required in FBSS, including participation in a drug
rehabilitation program. She left the rehabilitation facility,
however, before completing the program. She refused to submit
to drug testing in November 2014. She also stopped attending
counseling sessions three meetings short of completion,
telling the Department that she had been put on bed-rest
until her due date at the end of December. Her drug screen
was negative when she gave birth to the younger child two
on the mother's progress toward completing her FBSS
services and the negative drug screen, the Department allowed
her to bring the younger child home from the hospital with
her. In late January 2015, however, the mother left the
younger child with his godmother, claiming that she intended
to find work and stable housing. Shortly thereafter, the
mother relapsed into drug abuse.
Department took custody of the children. Pursuant to the
trial court's order, the children, who had been living
apart from each other with their godmothers, were placed
together in a foster home.
mother's caseworker was unable to locate the mother again
until late April 2015. When the caseworker met with her then,
the mother refused to provide a hair follicle sample for drug
testing, but agreed to provide a urine sample, which tested
negative for illegal drugs.
mother refused to submit to any further drug testing in April
and May. In June and July 2015, the mother neither called the
caseworker nor returned the caseworker's calls. The
mother called the caseworker in early August, but again
refused to submit to drug testing. She fell out of contact
with the Department again in September.
mother had her next meeting with the caseworker in
mid-October. At that meeting, the mother refused to submit to
drug testing. The caseworker gave her another referral to a
drug treatment facility, but the mother did not go for
November 2015, the mother agreed to submit to drug testing,
but said she could not provide a hair sample because she had
shaved off all of her hair. The urine ...