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In re V.T.E.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Tenth District

February 28, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF V.T.E., A CHILD

         From the County Court at Law Ellis County, Texas Trial Court No. 93469CCL

          Before Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          AL SCOGGINS JUSTICE

         Samantha D. appeals from a judgment that terminated the parent-child relationship between her and her child, V.T.E. [1] After hearing all the evidence, the trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that Samantha (1) knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain in conditions or surroundings that endanger the child, (2) engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who engaged in conduct that endangers the child, (3) constructively abandoned the child who has been in the custody of the Department of Family and Protective Services for not less than six months, (4) failed to comply with the provisions of a court order that specifically established the actions necessary for her to obtain the return of the child, and (5) used a controlled substance in a manner that endangered the health or safety of the child. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001 (b) (1) (D) (E) (N) (O) (P) (West Supp. 2017). The trial court further found by clear and convincing evidence that termination was in the best interest of the child. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001 (b) (2) (West Supp. 2017). We affirm.

         Facts

         On March 25, 2016, Samantha gave birth to V.T.E. while she was in Texas visiting her mother. V.T.E tested positive at birth for marijuana, and Samantha admitted to using marijuana during the majority of her pregnancy. Medical providers determined that V.T.E. was affected by maternal substance abuse. V.T.E. failed her newborn hearing screening and had notable congenital malformations at birth. V.T.E. was placed in foster care when she was four days-old. Samantha returned to California; however, she agreed to participate in the services outlined in the temporary order issued by the trial court.

         Standard of Review

         In five issues Samantha argues that the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support the trial court's findings on each of the grounds for termination. Only one predicate act under section 161.001 (b) (1) is necessary to support a judgment of termination in addition to the required finding that termination is in the child's best interest. In re A.V., 113 S.W.3d 355, 362 (Tex.2003). In conducting a legal sufficiency review in a parental termination case:

[A] court should look at all the evidence in the light most favorable to the finding to determine whether a reasonable trier of fact could have formed a firm belief or conviction that its finding was true. To give appropriate deference to the factfinder's conclusion and the role of a court conducting a legal sufficiency review, looking at the evidence in the light most favorable to the judgment means that a reviewing court must assume that the factfinder resolved disputed facts in favor of its finding if a reasonable factfinder could do so. A corollary to this requirement is that a court should disregard all evidence that a reasonable factfinder could have disbelieved or found to be incredible. This does not mean that a court must disregard all evidence that does not support the finding. Disregarding undisputed facts that do not support the finding could skew the analysis of whether there is clear and convincing evidence.

In re J.P.B., 180 S.W.3d 570, 573 (Tex.2005) (per curiam) (quoting In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d 256, 266 (Tex.2002)) (emphasis in J.P.B.).

         In a factual sufficiency review,

[A] court of appeals must give due consideration to evidence that the factfinder could reasonably have found to be clear and convincing.... [T]he inquiry must be "whether the evidence is such that a factfinder could reasonably form a firm belief or conviction about the truth of the State's allegations." A court of appeals should consider whether disputed evidence is such that a reasonable factfinder could not have resolved that disputed evidence in favor of its finding. If, in light of the entire record, the disputed evidence that a reasonable factfinder could not have credited in favor of the finding is so significant that a factfinder could not reasonably have formed a firm belief or conviction, then the evidence is factually insufficient.

In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d 256, 266-67 (Tex.2002) (quoting In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 25 (Tex.2002)) (internal footnotes omitted) (alterations added).

         Failure to Comply With the ...


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