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In re A.K.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo

February 15, 2018


         On Appeal from the 223rd District Court Gray County, Texas, Trial Court No. 38, 305 and 37, 927 Honorable Jack Graham, Presiding

          Before QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PARKER, JJ.



         Following a bench trial, [1] the trial court signed a judgment terminating the parent-child relationship between D.C. and her children, A.K., A.K., and J.C.[2] In her sole issue, D.C. challenges the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence supporting the trial court's finding that termination of her parental rights is in the children's best interest. We affirm.


         D.C. is the mother of A.K., A.K., and J.C. L.M. is J.C.'s father, and U.K. is the father of A.K. and A.K. The trial court also terminated the parental rights of both fathers. They did not appeal.

         In November of 2015, the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services received a report that D.C. was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. Her twelve-year-old son, J.C., was in the car with her when she was arrested. D.C. admitted to the Department's investigator, Daniel McArthur, that the drugs and pipe found in the car belonged to her, and that she had used methamphetamine before driving with J.C. D.C. acknowledged she smoked methamphetamine in the home with the children present. Sometimes, D.C. and her boyfriend, H.A., smoked methamphetamine together while the children were playing outside. There was also concerns about the condition of the home and domestic violence between D.C. and H.A.

         The Department was granted temporary managing conservatorship of the children and assigned Michael Haskins as the caseworker. Haskins provided a service plan to D.C. to assist her in regaining custody of the children. The service plan required D.C. to complete the following services: take parenting classes; participate in a substance abuse assessment with Amarillo Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse (ACADA) and comply with recommendations; maintain contact with the caseworker; participate in Women Against Violence (WAV); take anger control training; complete rational behavior training (RBT); attend Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous meetings weekly; submit to random drug testing; maintain legal employment; complete an Outreach Screening Assessment and Referral (OSAR); attend weekly supervised visitation; secure reliable transportation; participate in a psychological evaluation; maintain safe, stable housing; attend individual counseling at least twice monthly; and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.[3]

         D.C. completed parenting classes, obtained a psychological evaluation, and attended RBT and anger control training. She reported attending Alcoholics Anonymous, but never provided documentation of her attendance.

         Initially, D.C. was to attend individual counseling with Tim Enevoldsen to address anger issues. After attending two sessions, she was discharged for non-attendance. D.C. completed four sessions of individual counseling with Tina Souder. D.C. admitted to Souder that she was still using methamphetamine.

         D.C. reported being self-employed, cleaning homes and landscaping. On one occasion, she showed Haskins a check she received for cleaning homes, but that was the only time she showed him verification of being compensated for work.

         D.C. missed multiple appointments for her OSAR assessment. Her ACADA assessment recommended that she attend inpatient substance abuse treatment. A bed was available for her at a treatment facility, but due to an imminent foreclosure on the home in which she was living, D.C. did not go on the day scheduled for her admission. The facility offered her admission a few days later, but D.C. declined. The third time the facility offered her admission, she accepted, but then she did not show up for admittance.

         D.C. lived in two homes during the case, but she lost both-the first due to a foreclosure, and the second following her arrest in November of 2016. H.A. moved with her to the second home, but it was not a safe place for the children. That home had broken windows, no gas, and no running water.

         On May 23, 2016, the Department changed the plan from reunification to termination based on D.C.'s continued drug use and the lack of progress on her court-ordered services. Her visitation with the children was suspended due to her arriving late to the visitations and her continued drug use.

         On June 16, 2016, D.C. pled guilty to the possession charge and received two years of deferred adjudication probation. In November 2016, D.C. was arrested again after a motion to revoke her probation was filed. The probation revocation was based, in part, on her commission of a new offense-an assault against H.A. On January 12, 2017, D.C. was adjudicated guilty of the underlying drug possession felony and sentenced to serve 180 days in a state jail facility.

         At the trial before the associate judge on May 25, 2017, D.C. testified that she planned to enter an inpatient treatment when she is released from the state jail facility in June of 2017. D.C. needs at least six months following her release before she would be able to meet her children's needs. D.C. admitted that she cannot currently meet her children's needs.

         At the de novo hearing, D.C. testified that H.A. took her to El Paso when she was released from jail on June 28, 2017. D.C. is living in an apartment in El Paso provided by ...

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