Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 304th Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. 15-01296-W
Justices Bridges, Fillmore, and Stoddart
L. BRIDGES JUSTICE
appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
daughter C.H. In three issues, Mother argues the evidence is
legally and factually insufficient to prove termination of
her parental rights is in C.H.'s best interest or to
support the appointment of Dallas County Child Protective
Services (CPS) as managing conservator for C.H. We affirm the
trial court's termination of Mother's parental
December 14, 2015, CPS filed an original petition for
protection of a child, for conservatorship, and for
termination in suit affecting the parent child relationship.
The petition alleged, among other things, that Mother
knowingly placed or knowingly allowed C.H. to remain in
conditions or surroundings which endangered her physical or
emotional well-being; engaged in conduct or knowingly placed
C.H. with persons who engaged in conduct which endangered the
physical or emotional well-being of C.H.; and constructively
abandoned C.H., who had been in the temporary managing
conservatorship of the Texas Department of Family and
Protective Services for not less than six months, and (1) the
Department made reasonable efforts to return C.H. to Mother,
(2) Mother did not regularly visit or maintain significant
contact with C.H., and (3) Mother demonstrated an inability
to provide C.H. with a safe environment.
petition was supported by the affidavit of CPS caseworker
Heather Sanchez who stated that, on December 11, 2015,
C.H.'s paternal grandmother came into the CPS office and
stated that she no longer wished to care for C.H. and wanted
to surrender her to CPS. Sanchez interviewed the paternal
grandmother, who stated she was unable to care for C.H.
Paternal grandmother stated Mother and Father were living in
Memphis, and Mother's other three-year-old daughter, A.C.
was living with the maternal grandmother. Paternal
grandmother reported that Mother was "prostituting"
and using cocaine and marijuana. Paternal grandmother
admitted that she occasionally smoked marijuana. At some
point in the interview, paternal grandmother changed her mind
and stated that she would like to keep C.H. and did not want
her to go into foster care. Paternal grandmother gave Sanchez
the address of the hotel where Mother was staying.
same day, Sanchez and another investigator went to the hotel
and spoke with Mother and Father. Sanchez told Mother that
paternal grandmother brought C.H. to the CPS office and
stated she was unable to care for C.H. but later changed her
mind and wanted to care for C.H. Sanchez said an
investigation was opened and they needed to find a suitable
place for C.H. to stay. Mother stated she would like to have
C.H., but she did not feel she would be able to care for C.H.
When Mother made the statement, Father nodded his head.
stated she was previously arrested for theft of property, and
she was on probation until 2017. When asked if she had
previously been involved with CPS, Mother stated a case with
the Department of Human Services in Memphis was opened
because she had an unstable living environment. However,
nothing happened with the case because A.C. had been living
with Mother's mother at the time. Mother said she did not
work but received a monthly check from social security.
Mother admitted participating in prostitution for the last
six or seven months, using cocaine three months ago, and
using marijuana three days ago.
asked why C.H. had gone to live with the paternal
grandmother, Mother stated there was an agreement worked out
whereby Father would move to Texas to live with the paternal
grandmother and C.H. and get his life together. The paternal
grandmother agreed to keep C.H. until April. By that time,
Mother was supposed to get a job and a place to live. Mother
stated she believed that the paternal grandmother became
angry when she learned that Mother had come to Texas because
she did not want Mother to have a relationship with Father.
Mother stated she believed her coming to Texas led the
paternal grandmother to take C.H. to CPS. After conferring
with her supervisors, who advised Sanchez that it had been
approved for C.H. to be removed into foster care, Sanchez
returned to the hotel and informed Mother and Father of the
trial before the court in October 2016, Mother testified
that, in December 2015, she had been in Dallas less than a
month, and it was her first visit to Dallas. Mother had an
arrangement with the paternal grandmother to keep C.H. for
six months to give Mother "time to get . . . some
stability, place to stay" in Memphis. Only Father and
C.H. were to live with the paternal grandmother. C.H. had
been living with the paternal grandmother since July 2015.
Mother "didn't really want to take [C.H.] back"
to Memphis; Mother "just wanted to see [C.H.]."
When asked to describe the situation in Memphis between
Mother and Father, Mother said she was "not stable,
" and she was "using drugs" and Father was
was seventeen years old when she got pregnant with C.H.
Mother testified she smoked marijuana before she got pregnant
with C.H., stopped using drugs while she was pregnant, and
began engaging in prostitution and using cocaine "about
five months after" C.H. was born. C.H. was born in
November 2014. After her birth, C.H. lived "back and
forth between the paternal great grandmother" and Mother
for the first six months of her life. C.H. then went to live
with the paternal grandmother from July 2015 until the
removal in December 2015. Mother did not see C.H. between
July and December 2015.
had been diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic at the time
of C.H.'s removal and received a social security check as
a result. Mother testified she "over exaggerate[d] the
situation to get the check." Mother's mother was
also "on the check because she had previous mental
problems." Social security "gave [Mother] the check
instantly" because they knew her mother was "sick
so her daughter probably had the same heredity." Mother
testified she was not exhibiting any signs or symptoms of
having mental health issues when she went for the evaluation
to get diagnosed. Mother testified she lied for the specific
purpose of obtaining a social security check. The checks were
"ongoing" at the time of trial. Mother testified
she was arrested for theft in Memphis and was on probation
testified that, after the removal, she visited C.H. but
returned to Memphis a week and a half later. Mother testified
she did not have enough money to stay in Dallas because she
"was already homeless in Memphis" and she was also
on probation. After Mother returned to Memphis, she did not
see C.H. until August 26, 2016. While in Memphis, Mother did
not always have a phone, did not have a place to live, and
continued to abuse drugs and engage in prostitution.
did not complete any of her services between January and June
2016, but she "did get stability." In June 2016,
Mother's grandmother gave her a house and a job at one of
her nursing homes, A.C. began staying with Mother, and Mother
enrolled in a program to get her GED. Mother stopped engaging
in prostitution. Mother was using drugs, including cocaine,
"on and off" in June 2016 but she testified she had
stopped using drugs by July. At the end of August 2016,
Mother returned to Dallas, and her caseworker and her lawyer
"set up as many services as [they] could, "
including parenting classes, psychological evaluation, a drug