Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
Appeal from the 64th District Court Swisher County, Texas
Trial Court No. A-12430-16-02, Honorable Robert W. Kinkaid,
CAMPBELL and PIRTLE and PARKER, JJ.
T. CAMPBELL JUSTICE.
the father of C.G.,  appeals the trial court's order
terminating his parental rights to C.G. Through three issues,
the father challenges the sufficiency of the evidence
supporting termination. We will affirm.
early 2016, the Texas Department of Family and Protective
Services filed pleadings that included an original petition
for protection of two-year-old C.G., for conservatorship, and
for termination in a suit affecting the parent-child
relationship. The pleadings were filed after a Department
family-based safety plan failed to resolve issues that arose
from statements the child's mother made to her anger
management counselor at MHMR. In March 2016, after a hearing,
the trial court appointed the Department C.G.'s temporary
managing conservator. The Department took C.G. into its
possession, and placed him into foster care where he remained
at the time of trial.
periodic hearings, the case was set for trial on March 15,
2017. That morning, C.G.'s mother executed a voluntarily
relinquishment of her parental rights. Her parental rights
were terminated on that basis, and she has not appealed.
the mother's relinquishment, and motions for continuance,
a bench trial on the remaining issues in the case was held
November 8, 2017. The Department called as witnesses a
licensed professional counselor who had seen both the father
and the mother; a therapist who had interviewed C.G.; the
Department's investigator; the child's mother; the
Department's caseworker; the Department's employee
who monitored the father's visits with C.G.; and the
father. In his case in chief, the father called his sister,
and C.G.'s ad litem called Patience White.
trial court concluded the evidence clearly and convincingly
supported the termination of the father's parental rights
to C.G. under Family Code sections 161.001(b)(1)(D) and (E)
and found by the same standard termination was in C.G.'s
best interest. On appeal, the father challenges each of the
trial court's findings.
of Review and Applicable Law
Constitution protects "[t]he fundamental liberty
interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and
management" of their children. Santosky v.
Kramer, 455 U.S. 745, 753, 102 S.Ct. 1388, 71 L.Ed.2d
599 (1982); Holick v. Smith, 685 S.W.2d 18, 20 (Tex.
1985). Parental rights, however, are not absolute, and courts
have recognized it is essential that the emotional and
physical interests of a child not be sacrificed merely to
preserve the parental rights. In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d
17, 26 (Tex. 2002). The Due Process Clause of the United
States Constitution and section 161.001 of the Texas Family
Code require application of the heightened standard of clear
and convincing evidence in cases involving involuntary
termination of parental rights. In re E. N.C., 384
S.W.3d 796, 802 (Tex. 2012); In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d
256, 263 (Tex. 2002). Clear and convincing evidence is that
measure or degree of proof which 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 (West 2014); In re C.H., 89
S.W.3d at 25-26.
Texas Family Code permits a trial court to terminate parental
rights if the Department proves by clear and convincing
evidence that the parent committed an action prohibited under
section 161.001(b)(1) and termination is in the child's
best interest. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(2);
Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367, 370 (Tex. 1976).
Only one predicate finding under section 161.001(b)(1) is
necessary to support an order of termination when there is
also a finding that termination is in the child's best
interest. In re A.V., 113 S.W.3d 355, 362 (Tex.
2003); In re T.N., 180 S.W.3d 376, 384 (Tex. App.-
Amarillo 2005, no pet.). Thus, a termination order may be
affirmed if it is supported by legally and factually
sufficient evidence of any statutory ground on which the
trial court relied for termination, and the best interest
finding. In re E.A.G., 373 S.W.3d 129, 141 (Tex.
App.-San Antonio 2012, pet. denied).
the legal sufficiency analysis, we examine all of the
evidence in the light most favorable to the challenged
finding, assuming the "factfinder resolved disputed
facts in favor of its finding if a reasonable factfinder
could do so." In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d at 266.
We disregard all contrary evidence the factfinder could have
reasonably disbelieved or found incredible. Id.
However, we take into account undisputed facts that do not
support the finding, so as not to "skew the analysis of
whether there is clear and convincing evidence."
Id. If the record presents credibility issues, we
must defer to the factfinder's determinations provided
they are not unreasonable. In re J.P.B., 180 S.W.3d
570, 573 (Tex. 2005).
of the factual sufficiency of evidence supporting termination
of parental rights requires "an exacting review of the
entire record." In re A.B., 437 S.W.3d 498, 500
(Tex. 2014). In a factual sufficiency review, we must give
due consideration to the evidence the factfinder could
reasonably have found to be clear and convincing. In re
C.H., 89 S.W.3d at 25. We determine whether the evidence
is such that a factfinder could reasonably form a firm belief
or conviction about the truth of the Department's
allegations. Id. In doing so we 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.
In re J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d at 266.
is a strong presumption that keeping a child with a parent is
in the child's best interest. In re R.R., 209
S.W.3d 112, 116 (Tex. 2006). But prompt and permanent
placement of a child in a safe environment is also presumed
to be in the child's best interest. Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
§ 263.307(a) (West 2015). The best interest analysis
evaluates the best interest of the child, not that of the
parent. In the Interest of A.C.B.,198 S.W.3d 294,
298 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 2006, no pet.). The following factors
are among those the court may consider in determining the
best interest of a child: (A) the desires of the child; (B)
the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the
future; (C) the emotional and physical danger to the child
now and in the future; (D) the parental abilities of the
individuals seeking custody; (E) the programs available to
assist these individuals to promote the best interests of the
child; (F) the plans for the child by these individuals or by
the agency seeking custody; (G) the stability of the home or
proposed placement; (H) the acts or omissions of the parent
which may indicate that the existing parent-child
relationship is not a proper one; and (I) any excuse for the
acts or omissions of the parent. Holley, 544 S.W.2d
at 371-72. The Holley ...