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J. H. B. v. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin

April 26, 2018

J. H. B., Appellant
v.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Appellee

          FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF TOM GREEN COUNTY, 340TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT NO. C160053CPS, HONORABLE GARY L. BANKS, JUDGE PRESIDING

          Before Justices Puryear, Pemberton, and Bourland

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          BOB PEMBERTON, JUSTICE

         This is an appeal from a final decree, following a bench trial, terminating the parental rights of a mother, J.H.B., to her child, C.C.M., who was approximately seventeen months old at the time of trial. J.H.B.'s court-appointed counsel has filed an Anders brief, concluding that the appeal is frivolous and without merit.[1] Counsel's brief meets the requirements of Anders by presenting a professional evaluation of the record and demonstrating that there are no arguable grounds for appeal.[2] J.H.B. was provided with a copy of counsel's brief and was advised of her right to examine the appellate record and to file a pro se brief. No pro se brief has been filed.

         At the termination trial, the district court heard evidence tending to show that J.H.B. had used methamphetamine while she was pregnant with C.C.M. and that she had continued to use methamphetamine and other drugs while this case was ongoing. Other evidence tended to show that J.H.B. had exposed C.C.M. to domestic violence during J.H.B.'s relationship with the child's father, C.M., who had, according to the evidence presented, assaulted J.H.B. on multiple occasions, including on one occasion when J.H.B. was holding the child in her arms.

         The Department also presented evidence that it had placed C.C.M. with the child's maternal grandmother, C.B., and that the child was "doing great" in the current placement. Katie Wahrmund-Gould, the conservatorship caseworker assigned to this case, testified that C.B. had demonstrated the ability to, among other things, provide for the child's emotional and physical needs, ensure that the child lived in a safe and appropriate environment, and provide appropriate parenting. Wahrmund-Gould also testified that C.B. "would like to adopt [C.M.]" and that she believed C.B. "has every intention of keeping that little boy happy, healthy, [and] safe."

         At the conclusion of trial, the district court found by clear and convincing evidence that termination of J.H.B.'s. parental rights was in the best interest of the child and that J.H.B. had: (1) knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain in conditions or surroundings which endangered the physical or emotional well-being of the child; (2) engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who engaged in conduct which endangered the physical or emotional well-being of the child; (3) failed to comply with the provisions of a court order that specifically established the actions necessary for the mother to obtain the return of the child; and (4) used a controlled substance in a manner that endangered the health or safety of the child and failed to complete a court-ordered substance abuse treatment program.[3] The district court subsequently terminated J.H.B.'s parental rights. This appeal followed.

         We have reviewed the record and counsel's brief and agree that the appeal is frivolous and without merit. We find nothing in the record that might arguably support the appeal. We affirm the district court's termination decree.[4]

         Affirmed .

---------

Notes:

[1] See Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 744 (1967); see also Taylor v. Texas Dep't of Protective & Regulatory Servs., 160 S.W.3d 641, 646-47 (Tex. App.-Austin 2005, pet. denied) (applying Anders procedure in appeal from termination of parental rights).

[2] See Anders, 386 U.S. at 744; Taylor, 160 S.W.3d at 646-47.

[3] See Tex. Fam. Code ยง 161.001(b)(1)(D), (E), (O), (P), ...


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