Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
IN THE INTEREST OF O.B. Jr., E.D.C., D.R.C., E.H.C., and T.M.C., Children
the 285th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2016-PA-02169 Honorable H. Paul Canales, Judge
Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice Marialyn Barnard, Justice
Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice
Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice
M.G. appeals the trial court's order terminating her
parental rights to her children O.B. Jr., E.D.C., D.R.C.,
E.H.C., and T.M.C. M.G. asserts the evidence is neither
legally nor factually sufficient for the trial court to have
found by clear and convincing evidence that terminating her
parental rights is in her children's best interests.
reviewed the evidence, we conclude it is legally and
factually sufficient to support the findings, and we affirm
the trial court's order.
December 2015, the Department of Family and Protective
Services received a report that M.G.'s newborn child
tested positive at birth for marijuana. The Department
offered M.G. services to help her parent her six children,
but she did not take advantage of the services. In the
ensuing months, the Department received several more reports
regarding M.G. The reports included domestic violence in the
home, unsanitary home conditions, and drug abuse. In May
2016, M.G. tested positive for methamphetamines, and she
continued to resist receiving services.
September 2016, M.G. was stopped by a police officer while
driving with her children, and she was detained for
outstanding warrants. When no suitable family members could
be located to take the children, the Department took them and
sought their removal. The Department initiated a service plan
for M.G., but she did not complete the plan. On November 14,
2017, after a bench trial, the trial court terminated
M.G.'s parental rights to five of her children, and she
Required to Terminate Parental Rights
Department moves to terminate a parent's rights to a
child, the Department must prove by clear and convincing
evidence that the parent's acts or omissions met one or
more of the grounds for involuntary termination listed in
section 161.001(b)(1) of the Family Code, and terminating the
parent's rights is in the best interest of the child.
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b) (West Supp. 2017);
In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d 256, 261 (Tex. 2002). The
same evidence used to prove the parent's acts or
omissions under section 161.001(b)(1) may be used in
determining the best interest of the child under section
161.001(b)(2). In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 28 (Tex.
2002); In re D.M., 452 S.W.3d 462, 471 (Tex.
App.-San Antonio 2014, no pet.); see also
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b). The trial court may
consider a parent's past deliberate conduct to infer
future conduct in a similar situation. D.M., 452
S.W.3d at 472.
clear and convincing evidence standard applies, a legal
sufficiency review requires a court to "'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.'" In re J.L., 163 S.W.3d 79, 85 (Tex.
2005) (quoting J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d at 266). If the
court "'determines that [a] reasonable factfinder
could form a firm belief or conviction that the matter that
must be proven is true, '" the evidence is legally
sufficient. See id. (quoting J.F.C., 96
S.W.3d at 266).
clear and convincing standard, evidence is factually
sufficient if "a factfinder could reasonably form a firm
belief or conviction about the truth of the State's
allegations." C.H., 89 S.W.3d at 25; accord
In re H.R.M., 209 S.W.3d 105, 108 (Tex. 2006). We must
consider "whether disputed evidence is such that a
reasonable factfinder could not have resolved that disputed
evidence in favor of its finding." J.F.C., 96
S.W.3d at 266; accord H.R.M., 209 S.W.3d at 108.
M.G.'s Course of Parental Conduct
trial court found by clear and convincing evidence that M.G.
failed to comply with her court-ordered service plan.
See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
161.001(b)(1)(O). On appeal, M.G. does not challenge the
trial court's statutory ground finding.
Best Interests of the Children
M.G. challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting
the trial court's finding that terminating her parental
rights is in her children's best interests. See
id. § 161.001(b)(2). We briefly review the law
pertaining to determining the best interests of the children.
Texas legislature codified certain factors courts are to use
in determining the best interest of a child:
(1) the child's age and physical and mental
(2) the frequency and nature of out-of-home placements;
(3) the magnitude, frequency, and circumstances of the harm