IN THE INTEREST OF B.F., P.M.F. a/k/a P.F., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 313th District Court, Harris County, Texas,
Trial Court Cause No. 2016-02643J
consists of Justices Jamison, Busby, and Donovan.
BRETT BUSBY JUSTICE
trial court terminated the parental rights of D.G.F. (Mother)
with respect to her children, Ben and Pia,  and appointed the
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (the
Department) to be the children's managing conservator. On
appeal, Mother challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to
support termination. We conclude legally and factually
sufficient evidence supports the trial court's findings
that Mother endangered her children and that termination of
the parent-child relationship between Mother and her children
is in each child's best interest. Therefore, we affirm
the trial court's judgment.
following facts come from the affidavit of Department
investigative caseworker Roxanna De La Garza.
Mother both tested positive for cocaine in their urine when
Pia was born. Pia showed no signs of withdrawal at birth,
however. She weighed more than eight pounds and scored 9 and
10 on her Apgar tests. She had a broken arm due to a
complication during delivery, but the injury was not
Garza visited Mother at the hospital the next day. An
interpreter facilitated their conversation because Mother did
not speak English proficiently. Mother denied drinking
alcohol or using drugs while she was pregnant. She said a
man, whom she did not name, may have drugged her three weeks
or so before she went into labor. De La Garza explained
cocaine ingested that long ago would not be detectable in
Mother's urine. Mother then mentioned another man, also
unnamed, as the cause of her positive cocaine result. She
said the man asked her to go out for beers three days before
she gave birth to Pia. Mother was not interested in him, she
told De La Garza, but eventually she acquiesced because she
needed money and a ride. She refused to have sex with him, at
which point he allegedly threatened her and forced her to use
cocaine and drink alcohol. De La Garza noted in her affidavit
that Mother "appeared to be searching for an
answer" when probed about her positive test result.
nurse caring for Mother and Pia reported Mother was loving,
attentive, and appropriate with Pia. Mother was careful with
Pia's broken arm and handled it as instructed. Other than
the positive drug results, the nurse had no worries about
Mother or Pia.
a year and a half old when Pia was born. He had lived with
and been cared for by M.R., a friend of Mother's, since
he was an infant. M.R. said she considered Ben to be her son
and Mother to be his babysitter. Another friend of
Mother's, M.C., told De La Garza she shared M.R.'s
wanted the Department to place Ben with her officially if he
was removed from Mother's care. She said she would think
about taking Pia as well. Mother could not identify a safe
placement for Pia other than with M.R.
Department removed both children and filed suit two days
later, attaching De La Garza's affidavit to the original
petition. The trial court signed an emergency order allowing
the removal and naming the Department as the children's
temporary managing conservator.
Family service plan
a full adversary hearing, the trial court signed an order
requiring Mother to comply with a Department family service
plan. The service plan would identify the tasks and services
she needed to complete before the children could be returned
to her care.
Department's service plan for Mother required her to,
among other things: (1) complete parenting classes; (2)
complete a substance abuse assessment and follow the
assessor's recommendations; (3) attend Alcoholics
Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous (AA/NA) meetings, select a
sponsor, and provide the caseworker with the sponsor's
name; (4) submit to random drug testing and test negative at
all times; (5) complete a psychosocial evaluation and follow
the evaluator's recommendations; (6) obtain and maintain
suitable employment and stable housing; (7) refrain from
criminal activity; and (8) maintain regular contact with the
was held a few days before Pia's first birthday. The
Department presented testimony from Mother, caseworker Renee
Hamilton, M.R., and Pia's foster father. The
Department's documentary evidence included Mother's
service plan and drug test results. All its evidence was
admitted without objection. Neither Mother nor the
children's attorney ad litem called witnesses or offered
Ben's birth and first twenty months
testified she was raped in Honduras and became pregnant with
Ben as a result. She lived in the Houston area for at least
part of her pregnancy. Ben was born in August 2014. Mother
did not have a stable place to live at that time, so she
stayed with various friends.
who had helped Mother during her pregnancy, testified she
began "watching" Ben when he was two months old
because Mother needed to work. The record is not clear what
M.R. meant by "watching." Either then or at another
point during Ben's infancy, he went to live with M.R. and
her family. Mother testified Ben was about six or seven
months old at the time. She explained she would "take
[Ben] and bring him back, and take him and bring him back and
[M.R.] was taking care of him for me." M.R. loved Ben,
Mother knew, and "basically raised" him.
testified she did not know Mother was using drugs.
born in April 2016. Mother confirmed that, at the time Pia
was born, she and Pia had cocaine in their systems, but the
record does not contain the results of any drug test
performed at that time on either Mother or Pia.
trial, Mother admitted her statement to De La Garza about
being drugged with cocaine at a concert was not true:
Q. . . . . And you explained that you believed you were
drugged at a concert three weeks prior; is that right?
Q. Okay. That's not true, though, is it?
A. No. A young man put something in my drink. He - three days
before I gave birth to the child, I told him that I have some
pain here in my hand. And he asked me to have some beers with
. . .
A. Well, it was three days before I gave birth. I had a lot
of pain in my arm. They were cramping - my arms were
cramping. I asked him to give me some money and because he
was in love with me, he told me, Well, if you have some beers
with me, then I'll give you the money.
And I said, Please don't be like that. I'm about to
give birth, and I cannot drink anything.
And he said, Well, I won't give you any money if you
don't drink the beers with me.
. . .
Q. So, while you were pregnant with [Pia], you drank the