Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
IN THE INTEREST OF E.J.E., J.J.E., J.N.E., and L.A.E., Children
the 166th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2016PA00935 Honorable Charles E. Montemayor, Judge
Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice Marialyn Barnard, Justice
Irene Rios, Justice.
the mother of J.J.E., J.N.E., and L.A.E., appeals the trial
court's order terminating her parental
rights. A.E. contends the evidence
is insufficient to support's the trial court's
finding that termination of her parental rights was in the
best interest of the children. We affirm the trial
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services filed its
original petition to terminate A.E.'s parental rights on
May 3, 2016. A bench trial on the merits was held on February
16, 2017. At that time, J.J.E. was fifteen, J.N.E. was
thirteen, and L.A.E. was eight.
Grover, the Department's investigator, was the first
witness to testify. She stated the initial referral was for a
dirty house and suspected drug use. Upon arriving outside the
home, Grover smelled a strong odor of feces. Upon entering
the home, Grover observed trash, dirty diapers, and used
feminine hygiene products on the floor scattered throughout
the home. The home had no running water. The bathroom had a
bucket containing feces, and Grover also observed feces
smeared on the door. When Grover performed a drug test on the
parents, J.E., the children's father, testified positive
for marijuana, opiates, methamphetamines, and cocaine.
A.E.'s drug test was also positive for opiates. Both J.E.
and A.E. denied any drug use.
Department implemented a parental child safety placement and
placed the children with their paternal grandparents. On a
random visit, however, the grandmother stated the children
were with the parents despite the grandmother acknowledging
her understanding that visits were supposed to be supervised.
The children were then removed and placed in the
determined the children had not attended school in almost a
year. Grover further testified the children's medical
needs were not being met, and the parents did not have some
of the children's prescribed medications. J.J.E. was
diagnosed with diabetes, but the parents admitted they only
gave her the prescribed medication occasionally, not
regularly. While the children were in the Department's
care, Grover discovered the children had additional medical
needs that were not being addressed.
Saldana, the Department's caseworker, testified both
parents were given a service plan. A.E. was first required to
undertake a drug assessment. When Saldana met A.E. at the
drug testing facility, A.E. was inebriated and unable to
stand. The facility attempted an oral swab test, but the
results were invalid. Based on A.E.'s demeanor, the
facility was unable to complete the test. A.E. completed a
psychological assessment and was referred to counseling;
however, she only attended one counseling session because her
health deteriorated after she skipped her dialysis
treatments. After A.E.'s health improved and she obtained
stable housing in November, she was provided in-home
counseling and began to engage in therapy in December. Unlike
the prior housing, Saldana stated she did not have any
concerns about the housing A.E. had lived in since November.
occasion when Saldana went to pick A.E. up to transport her
for a hair follicle drug test, A.E. was barely able to walk
to the vehicle because she skipped her dialysis treatments
for the entire week. A.E. passed out in Saldana's
vehicle, and Saldana called 911. Saldana attempted to revive
A.E. until EMS arrived and transported A.E. to the hospital.
Saldana testified the dialysis treatment facility provided
A.E. with transportation for services. A.E. simply chose not
to go to the facility to receive treatments.
testified A.E. was arrested on a warrant while the case was
pending. Saldana further testified J.E. has outstanding
warrants. With regard to A.E.'s relationship with J.E.,
Saldana testified A.E. represented they were no longer in a
relationship; however, when Saldana visited the home, J.E.
was present. In addition, on the last parent-child visit
preceding trial, A.E. requested that the children be
permitted to attend a ceremony on Valentine's Day where
she and J.E. would renew their vows. Saldana testified a
history of domestic violence exists between A.E. and J.E.,
including an incident at the beginning of the case when J.E.
admittedly hit A.E. causing bruising under her chin. Neither
A.E. nor J.E. completed a domestic violence course.
completed two drug assessments but failed to follow through
with recommendations for treatment. The Friday before trial
began, Saldana made an unannounced home visit at A.E.'s
residence. J.E. informed Saldana that A.E. was not home
because she was hospitalized the previous night for skipping
dialysis. Saldana testified A.E. had been hospitalized four
times while the case was pending. J.E. submitted to an oral
swab drug test and passed out waiting for the results. The
drug test was positive for cocaine.
testified J.J.E. is diabetic and requires regular medication.
J.N.E. also had several medical concerns when he was placed
in the Department's care, including high blood pressure
for which he takes medication. Saldana expressed a concern
about A.E.'s ability to follow through with the
children's medical care when she does not attend to her
own medical care. When E.J.E. was placed in the
Department's care, she was still bedwetting despite being
sixteen. Within a month of an appointment with a urologist
and bladder training, E.J.E. was able to stop bedwetting.
While in her parent's ...