Appeal from the 314th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 2016-04660J
consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Busby and Wise.
THOMPSON FROST CHIEF JUSTICE.
(Mother) and R.J.R. (Father) each appeal from a final decree
terminating their parental rights to their son, R.P.R., Jr.
(Richard). In a single issue, Mother contends the
unrevoked or irrevocable affidavit of voluntary
relinquishment of her parental rights did not comply with
section 161.103 of the Texas Family Code. Father's
appointed counsel filed a brief in which he concludes
Father's appeal is wholly frivolous and without merit. We
Factual and Procedural Background
2015, the Department of Family and Protective Services
received referrals alleging Mother and Father were physically
neglecting and neglectfully supervising Richard, who then was
four months old. According to the report, Richard had a staph
infection due to unsanitary conditions in the home and Mother
and Father were using illegal drugs while caring for him.
Department became involved because Mother reportedly was
leaving not-yet-one-year-old Richard alone with Father while
she was on a "drug binge." According to reports,
the home was in a deplorable condition and the Department had
concerns of domestic violence between Mother and Father.
Mother agreed to participate in services with Family Based
Safety Services (FBSS).
participating in services with FBSS, the Department placed
Richard in a Parental Child Safety Placement with his
paternal grandmother. Mother and Father disrupted the
placement and took Richard from the grandmother's home.
Mother and Father grew uncooperative. Father, who believed
Mother had lied about the paternity of her unborn child,
later fled with Richard.
Department received a referral on August 11, 2016, alleging
Mother's neglectful supervision of B.H. (Bonnie), a
newborn. Mother tested positive for benzodiazepines,
amphetamines, and opiates the day Bonnie was born. Bonnie
also tested positive for amphetamines and opiates and
displayed withdrawal symptoms shortly after her birth. On
August 18, 2016, Bonnie was discharged into a Parental Child
Safety Placement with Mother's friend.
next day, the Department received a referral alleging
Father's neglectful supervision of Richard. According to
the report, Father had been arrested for a bond violation
after being found with a gun in his vehicle and testing
positive for amphetamines. Father was incarcerated as a
same day (August 19, 2016), Mother's friend who was
caring for Bonnie called the Department and indicated that
Mother had attempted to pick up Bonnie and was threatening
the friend. Mother's friend no longer wanted to serve as
a placement for Bonnie and the Department proceeded with
emergency removal of both Richard and Bonnie due to
Mother's history of taking the children from safe
placements and evading the Department.
a few days, the Department filed its petition for termination
in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship, seeking to
cut off Mother's and Father's parental rights to
Richard and Bonnie. The court appointed the Department
temporary sole managing conservator of both children.
the bench trial that followed, both Mother and Father
offered, and the trial court admitted into evidence,
irrevocable affidavits of voluntary relinquishment as to
Richard. When offering the affidavits into evidence, both
Mother's and Father's counsel indicated Mother and