Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 57th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2016-PA-02894 Honorable Richard Garcia, Judge
Marialyn Barnard, Justice, Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice, Irene
an accelerated appeal from an order terminating Mother and
Father's parental rights to the child,
A.A.M. Mother contends the evidence is legally
and factually insufficient to support the trial court's
finding that termination of her parental rights is in the
best interests of the child.We affirm the trial court's
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services ("the
Department") became involved with this family on
September 23, 2016, when A.A.M. tested positive for illegal
substances at birth. At the time of delivery, Mother tested
positive for opiates and benzodiazepine and admitted to using
marijuana, cocaine, and Adderall within a week of
A.A.M.'s birth. After unsuccessful attempts at placing
the child with a relative of Mother and in light of
Mother's apathy regarding her drug use, the Department
filed a petition to terminate Mother's parental rights on
December 29, 2016.
a show cause hearing on January 10, 2017, the trial court
signed a temporary order assigning the Department as
temporary managing conservator of the child and ordering
Mother to comply with the Department's family service
plan. At a status hearing on February 28, 2017, the trial
court found Mother had reviewed and signed her service plan.
At a permanency hearing on June 28, 2017, the trial court
found Mother had not demonstrated adequate and appropriate
compliance with the service plan.
a non-jury trial on October 25, 2017, the trial court heard
testimony from Department caseworker Sonia Perez. After
receipt of evidence and testimony, the trial court signed an
order terminating Mother's parental rights. Specifically,
the trial court found Mother (1) used a controlled substance
in a manner that endangered the health or safety of A.A.M.
and either (a) failed to complete a court-ordered substance
abuse treatment program; or (b) after completion of a
court-ordered substance abuse treatment program, continued to
abuse a controlled substance; (2) was the cause of A.A.M.
being born addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance,
other than a controlled substance legally obtained by
prescription; and (3) failed to comply with the provisions of
a court order that specifically established the actions
necessary for her to obtain the return of A.A.M. See
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(1)(O), (P), (R) (West
Supp. 2016). The trial court also found termination of
Mother's parental rights was in A.A.M.'s best
interest. See id. § 161.001(b)(2). Mother
appeals the trial court's order terminating her parental
rights to A.A.M.
terminate parental rights pursuant to section 161.001 of the
Texas Family Code, the Department has the burden to prove:
(1) one of the predicate grounds in subsection 161.001(b)(1);
and (2) that termination is in the best interest of the
child. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001;
In re A.V., 113 S.W.3d 355, 362 (Tex. 2003). The
applicable burden of proof is the clear and convincing
standard. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.206(a) (West 2014);
In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d 256, 263 (Tex. 2002).
"'Clear and convincing evidence' means the
measure or degree of proof that will produce in the mind of
the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth
of the allegations sought to be established." Tex. Fam.
Code Ann. § 101.007.
reviewing the legal sufficiency of the evidence to support
the termination of parental rights, the court must "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.F.C., 96 S.W.3d at 266.
"[A] reviewing court must assume that the factfinder
resolved disputed facts in favor of its finding if a
reasonable factfinder could do so." Id. "A
corollary to this requirement is that a court should
disregard all evidence that a reasonable factfinder could
have disbelieved or found to have been incredible."
reviewing the factual sufficiency of the evidence to support
the termination of parental rights, the court views all the
evidence and determines whether a reasonable factfinder could
form a firm belief or conviction that a given finding was
true. See id.; In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 25
(Tex. 2002). The court "must give due consideration to
evidence that the factfinder could reasonably have found to
be clear and convincing." In re J.F.C., 96
S.W.3d at 266. "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." Id. "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." Id.