Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 285th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2015PA02340 Honorable John D. Gabriel, Jr., Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice, Patricia O.
Alvarez, Justice, Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice
Bryan Marion, Chief Justice
the mother of K.D.F., appeals the trial court's order
terminating her parental rights. The only issue M.F. presents
is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support
the trial court's finding that termination of her
parental rights was in K.D.F.'s best interest. We affirm
the trial court's order.
November 4, 2015, the Department filed its petition to
terminate M.F.'s parental rights. A bench trial was held
on July 5, 2017. On the date of the trial, K.D.F. was
thirteen years old.
only witness to testify was the Department's case worker
who was appointed to the case in November of 2015. The case
worker testified that the case actually started in 2014 when
K.D.F.'s older sister, T.F., tested positive for cocaine
when she gave birth, and an investigation established she
tested positive because M.F., her mother, and her father were
smoking crack cocaine while caring for T.F. and K.D.F. While
the case was pending, T.F. turned eighteen and elected to
stay in the Department's care.
case worker testified the family has a significant history
with the Department, including allegations of physical abuse
and sexual abuse of T.F. by her older brother while in her
parents' care. Because of this history, K.D.F. had spent
about six years of her life in the Department's care
while various cases were pending. K.D.F. suffers from mood
disorders and ADHD and has required hospitalization a few
times. The case worker testified K.D.F. needs "a more
specialized level of attention, " but her parents took
no actions to address those concerns. K.D.F. also has a
service plan required her to undertake a drug assessment,
drug treatment, random drug testing, and a psychological
evaluation. M.F. also was required to engage in individual
counseling and to participate in parent-child visits.
Finally, M.F. was required to obtain stable housing. M.F.
completed the services and did not use drugs from February of
2016 to October of 2016; however, she relapsed in March of
2017, just before K.D.F. was to be returned home. K.D.F.
informed the case worker about the relapse and told him she
did not want to return home. When the case worker spoke with
M.F., she admitted to using marijuana and cocaine and to
taking more than her prescribed dosage of Xanax. At that
time, M.F. refused to undertake a hair follicle test;
however, she submitted to the test a few weeks later and
tested positive for cocaine. Although another drug treatment
program was recommended, M.F. did not complete the program.
On cross-examination, the case worker admitted M.F. told him
on the day of trial that she had been unable to start the
program because of a lack of availability. The case worker
stated he had been unable to confirm whether or not space was
available. The case worker also stated M.F.'s phone was
disconnected, and he did not have a phone number to call her.
M.F. left the case worker only two voice mails in the three
months after she tested positive, and she never left a phone
number where the case worker could return her calls.
to K.D.F. reporting M.F.'s relapse, the trial court
signed an order authorizing a monitored return of K.D.F. to
M.F.'s care; however, the monitored return did not occur
because M.F. lied about not being in a relationship with
K.D.F.'s father who had refused to engage in services.
The case worker believed M.F. and K.D.F.'s father were
still involved in a relationship because K.D.F. called her
father's phone to speak with M.F. M.F. told the case
worker K.D.F.'s father was selling his prescription
medication for $3, 000-$4, 000 each month.
case worker testified M.F. had not made the necessary changes
for K.D.F. to be returned to her care. The case worker
explained M.F. had been abusing drugs for many years causing
K.D.F. to cycle in and out of the Department's care when
M.F. relapsed. When M.F. agreed to a drug test the morning of
trial, she told the case worker she had taken double her
prescribed dose of Xanax. The case worker stated that
allowing K.D.F. to have contact with M.F. stresses K.D.F. and
causes her guilt when she is truthful with the Department
about M.F.'s drug use.
case worker testified K.D.F.'s behavior has improved
while in the Department's care, and she is learning
coping skills to manage her mood disorder. Although K.D.F.
loves M.F., she wants to be adopted, move forward, and be
free of the stress.
conclusion of the evidence, the trial court terminated
M.F.'s parental rights, and M.F. appeals.