Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
IN THE INTEREST OF J.C.C., JR., L.H.M.C., and J.Z.M., Children
the 150th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2016PA00767 Honorable Charles E. Montemayor, Judge
Angelini, Justice Marialyn Barnard, Justice Irene Rios,
Sr., the father of J.C.C., Jr., L.H.M.C., and J.Z.M., appeals
the trial court's order terminating his parental
rights. The only issue J.C.C., Sr.
presents is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to
support the trial court's finding that termination of his
parental rights was in the children's best interest. We
affirm the trial court's order.
April 13, 2016, the Texas Department of Family and Protective
Services filed a petition to terminate J.C.C., Sr.'s
rights. When the petition was filed, J.C.C., Sr. was
incarcerated, and the children were removed from their
mother's care because of her ongoing drug use and her
neglectful supervision of the children. The case proceeded to
a bench trial on February 15, 2017.
Shorts, the Department's removing worker, testified the
Department has been involved with the family for about two
years. The case was initially assigned to family based
services. The children's mother, T.C., and her boyfriend,
J.G., tested positive for marijuana. T.C. also tested
positive for heroin, and the Department had concerns about
methamphetamine use. The Department sought to have the
children removed after Shorts learned the family was evicted
from their home. Although Shorts attempted to implement a
parent-child safety plan, there were no viable caretakers.
T.C. admitted to Shorts that she continued to use marijuana
despite being pregnant and also told Shorts she thought she
would test positive for Vicodin that she was using because
her tooth was hurting. Although Shorts knew J.C.C., Sr. was
incarcerated when the children were removed, she was not sure
why he was incarcerated.
Bishop began working on the case for the Department in
October of 2016. On the date of trial, J.C.C., Jr. was eight,
L.H.M.C. was seven, and J.Z.M. was six. Bishop testified
J.C.C., Sr. was incarcerated when the children were removed
and had not completed his service plan. Although J.C.C., Sr.
completed a domestic violence class and possibly completed a
parenting class, he was unsuccessfully discharged from
individual therapy due to his incarceration. J.C.C., Sr.
completed a drug assessment, and outpatient drug treatment
was recommended based on the assessment. After missing three
of the treatment classes, J.C.C., Sr. requested classes
closer to his home; however, he was reincarcerated before
that request could be accommodated. Bishop testified J.C.C.,
Sr. was incarcerated in October of 2016 for possession of a
controlled substance, released in November of 2016,
reincarcerated on January 17, 2017 for possession of a
controlled substance, and released again on February 6, 2017.
Sr. admitted his October 2016 incarceration was based on his
use of methamphetamines. When J.C.C., Sr. was not
incarcerated, he was consistent in visiting with the
children. Bishop testified it was in the children's best
interest to terminate J.C.C., Sr.'s parental rights.
Bishop stated J.C.C., Sr. is still using drugs and is unable
to provide for the children. J.C.C., Sr. is not working and
is living with a family member; therefore, Bishop testified
he is unable to provide a safe and stable home for the
children. In addition, J.C.C., Sr. has additional criminal
charges pending. Bishop stated having a forever home was in
the children's best interest.
testified the children were living at St. Jude's because
no potential caretakers had been located. All three children
have serious behavioral issues making them difficult to
place. Although the children's maternal grandmother
previously informed the Department she was unwilling to care
for the children, she expressed a willingness to care for the
children on the morning trial began. Bishop stated the
Department would explore the possibility of that placement.
cross-examination, Bishop testified J.C.C., Sr. signed his
service plan. As noted, J.C.C., Sr. was released from jail on
February 6, 2017, and trial commenced on February 15, 2017.
After J.C.C., Sr. was released, Bishop provided him with the
information necessary to restart his drug assessment and drug
treatment by text message. J.C.C., Sr. was living with a
sister who has history with the Department. Bishop stated she
did not believe J.C.C., Sr. would be able to complete his
service plan if he was given an additional two months because
of his continual drug use. Bishop had not sent J.C.C., Sr.
for a urinalysis because he did not have a continuous phone
number to contact him when he was not incarcerated.
Sr. testified he was incarcerated when the children were
removed in April of 2016, for violating the terms of his
parole. J.C.C., Sr. stated he was on parole for a
"violent case" and went to his sister's house
after he was kicked out of the halfway house in Austin where
he was required to stay after his release on parole. J.C.C.,
Sr.'s sister called the police which led to his
incarceration. J.C.C., Sr. was released from that
incarceration in June of 2016. J.C.C., Sr. signed a service
plan on August 1, 2016, but stated he did not receive a copy
of the plan. J.C.C., Sr. agreed he did not follow the plan
when he was arrested in October of 2016 for possession of a
controlled substance. J.C.C., Sr. was released from jail on
November 7, 2016. J.C.C., Sr. testified he did not use drugs
again until he was told his children would not be returned to
his care after which he used methamphetamine. J.C.C., Sr. was
arrested again on January 17, 2017 and was scheduled for
sentencing on March 14, 2017. Although J.C.C., Sr. testified
he had a plea agreement for six years' deferred
adjudication, he also testified a "good chance"
existed that he would be "sentenced for a good amount of
time." J.C.C., Sr. also admitted he had previously
served time in prison on a three year sentence for assault
family violence for which he was on parole.
conclusion of the evidence, the trial court terminated
J.C.C., Sr.'s ...