Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
IN THE INTEREST OF J.N.G. and C.Y.G.
the 224th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2016-PA-01667 Honorable Charles E. Montemayor,
Associate Judge Presiding
Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice
Irene Rios, Justice
G. appeals the trial court's order terminating his
parental rights to his two children: C.Y.G., who is two years
old, and J.N.G., who is one year old. He argues that the
evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support the
trial court's finding that termination of his parental
rights is in his children's best interest. With respect
to C.Y.G., he argues the trial court erred in terminating his
parental rights to C.Y.G. pursuant to section 161.002(b)
because he clearly and unequivocally claimed to be the
child's father at trial. We affirm.
April 2016, the Department of Family and Protective Services
received a referral alleging neglectful supervision of C.Y.G.
C.Y.G.'s mother was pregnant and had been admitted to the
hospital for cramping due to a ruptured placenta. Selene
Mendez, a caseworker for the Department, testified at trial
that C.Y.G.'s mother admitted to using heroin while
pregnant. On May 1, 2016, C.Y.G.'s mother gave birth to
J.N.G., whose meconium tested positive for opiates. According
to Mendez, J.N.G. had significant withdrawal symptoms and had
to go through "detox" at the hospital, suffering
from shaking and an inability to sleep.
testified that at first, family services were offered.
Attempts were made to locate the father, Michael G. According
to Mendez, in July 2016, Michael G. was found shoplifting
from a store with his one-year-old child, C.Y.G., in his
possession. When the police "attempted to arrest him, he
ran from the police and left [C.Y.G.] in the store
abandoned." Michael G. was arrested and
"incarcerated for endangerment of a child and
abandonment of a child without intent to return." On
August 1, 2016, the underlying petition to terminate the
parental rights of the mother and Michael G. was filed.
Mendez testified the court-ordered service plan required
Michael G. to "demonstrate stability of the home,
employment, and to remain out of jail."
testified Michael G. was not incarcerated continuously during
the pendency of this case. Michael G. was "released in
February of 2017" but "was incarcerated again in
July of 2017." Mendez testified that on July 14, 2017,
Michael G. "was arrested for possession of a controlled
substance, less than one gram." He remained incarcerated
at the time of trial. According to Mendez, Michael G. had not
attempted to contact her to engage in any services:
The only time that I spoke to him or that he reached out to
me was during the court hearing on May 30th of 2017. . . . I
attempted to make contact with [Michael G.], but he left the
courtroom without giving me any contact information. I
contacted his attorney to see if maybe perhaps he gave her
his contact information, but he did not. I reached out to him
in June, again in July, and then that's when I found out
that he had been incarcerated in August. He never reached out
testified she visited Michael G. in jail on August 8, 2017
and asked him if he had engaged in any services while
incarcerated. He replied that he did not know there were any
services available. "He hadn't looked into it."
Michael G. had not engaged in any services. According to
Mendez, he did not inform her that he had taken anger
management classes or been enrolled in a 12-step program.
testified the children were currently with foster parents who
wished to adopt them. J.N.G. has a medical condition related
to his esophagus, and has had a "triple procedure"
in an attempt to correct his breathing. Mendez testified
J.N.G.'s condition remains ongoing and requires many
appointments with specialty providers. Mendez testified
J.N.G.'s current foster parents are making sure that he
is getting all the proper care he needs.
to Mendez, it would be in the best interest of the children
to terminate Michael G.'s parental rights because he
"has not demonstrated that he is able to take care of
his children." "He has been in and out of jail
throughout the whole legal case, and has never reached out to
[Mendez] to see what he can do to regain custody of his
children." Mendez testified Michael G. had not
demonstrated he could provide a safe and stable home for the
children. Nor had he demonstrated that he could refrain from
G. testified at trial that he is the father of J.N.G. and
C.Y.G. He stated he had not received a copy of his service
plan. He claimed that he had reached out to Mendez
"several times" but said it had been "pretty
difficult" to contact her because of his incarceration.
Michael G. testified he was aware of what he needed to do in
this case and claimed to have taken "it upon [himself]
without the service plan to go get the psych
evaluation." Michael G. was then asked why he did not
visit the children during the time he was not incarcerated.
Due to the fact of the false allegations and the time that I
spent in jail under that crime, or alleged crime, I lost
everything and I was very unstable and I had to rebuild from
ground zero, so it took me some time in order to build up
some money, find ...