Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
IN THE INTEREST OF A.M. & L.R.M., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 100th District Court Carson County, Texas
Trial Court No. 11, 580, Honorable Stuart Messer, Presiding
QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.
" the fictitious name we will use for the biological
mother of A.M. and L.R.M., appeals the trial court's
order terminating her parental rights. She contends that
the evidence was insufficient to support the trial
court's finding that termination of her rights was in the
best interest of the children. We affirm.
Texas Family Code allows a court to terminate the
relationship between a parent and a child if the party
seeking termination establishes (1) one or more acts or
omissions enumerated under § 161.001 (b)(1) and (2)
termination of that relationship is in the child's best
interest. In re H.W., No. 07-16-00294-CV, 2016
Tex.App. LEXIS 12846, at *4 (Tex. App.-Amarillo Dec. 5, 2016,
no pet.) (mem. op.); see Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
§161.001 (b)(1)-(2) (West Supp. 2017). Both elements
must be established by "clear and convincing
evidence." See In re H.W., 2016
Tex.App. LEXIS 12846, at *4. That standard is met when the
evidence of record "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." Id.
at *5. In reviewing whether the evidence is sufficient to do
that, we apply the tests described in In re K.M.L.,
443 S.W.3d 101, 112-13 (Tex. 2014), and In re K.V.,
No. 07-16-00188-CV, 2016 Tex.App. LEXIS 11091, at *6-8 (Tex.
App-Amarillo Oct. 11, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.). And, in
applying those tests to the finding of best interest, we
compare the evidentiary record to the factors itemized in
Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367, 372 (Tex.
trial court found that the evidence established four
statutory grounds warranting termination. Two related grounds
involved Alice (1) knowingly placing or knowingly allowing
the children to remain in conditions or surroundings that
endangered the physical or emotional well-being of the
children and (2) engaging in conduct or knowingly placing the
child with persons who engaged in conduct that endangered the
physical or emotional well-being of the children.
See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001 (b)(1)(D),
(E). The trial court also found by clear and convincing
evidence that Alice failed to support the children in
accordance with her ability during the period of one year
ending within six months of the date of filing of the
Department's petition and that she failed to comply with
the provisions of a court order that specifically established
the actions necessary for the parent to obtain the return of
the children. See id. § 161.001(b)(1)(F), (O).
Those findings are not attacked on appeal. Moreover, the
evidence upon which they are based may be considered when
determining whether the best interest of the child warranted
termination. See In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d at 28.
the record contains the following evidence. The two children
in question are not her only ones. She has two others who are
older than the children at issue here. Furthermore, the two
older children were fathered by different men. One of the
older children lived with the father, while she relinquished
her parental rights to the other.
evidence indicates that Alice has a history of abusing
methamphetamine and involving herself in violent,
"unhealthy" relationships with men. Though she
participated in numerous programs to address her drug abuse,
it appears that few if any were ever completed. So too does
evidence illustrate her having engaged in criminal conduct
since childhood, which conduct resulted in her indictment for
burglary, having the adjudication of her guilt deferred, and
being granted community supervision. The latter was
eventually revoked in September of 2017. She was then
convicted of the offense and assessed an eighteen-year prison
term, which term she currently serves.
record further illustrates that Alice suffers from mental
health issues which have resulted in her placement in various
mental health facilities. According to a psychologist who
examined her, she suffers from bipolar disorder, unspecified
anxiety disorder, alcohol use disorder, methamphetamine use
disorder, and personality disorder with antisocial traits. He
also observed that she has never been self-supporting, never
provided good care for her children, and is prone to becoming
involved with men who abuse substances, engage in physical
abuse, and have criminal histories. He further doubted her
ability to keep a job, support herself, and adequately care
for her children. A licensed provisional supervisor who had
counselling sessions with Alice described her as (1) as
having "fundamental character flaws and disorders that
interfere with her ability to be empathic, " (2) being
"really wrapped up in her own misery and personal state,
" and (3) being "self-absorbed."
further indicates that Alice visited and or contacted the
children sporadically after their removal. She was also
barred from seeing them until she "cleaned-up."
Though Alice denied it, evidence also revealed that she
failed to complete the services assigned her to secure the
return of the children. The services she failed to complete
included (1) attending and participating in parenting
classes, (2) attending and cooperating in counseling, (3)
submitting to drug screens, (4) paying child support, (5)
obtaining stable housing, and (6) engaging in rational
testified by phone from prison. She explained that she would
be eligible for parole in August 2018. If granted parole, she
planned on working and returning to school. As for her plans
regarding the children, she explained: "I don't
know. I guess I'd put them in school." She
maintained that the children would be better served by being
with her. So too did she testify that: "I know they miss
me, and I think the children belong with their parents. And
if I can provide a healthy, stable environment for them, I
think that's better than them being with strangers."
When asked if someone who abused methamphetamine could
provide appropriate supervision for two young children, she
replied that she could "when I am clean." That led
into a discussion of how she has had attempted to engage in
drug programs but failed to complete them.
"strangers" to whom Alice referred were the foster
family with whom the children have resided since May of 2015.
Since being placed in the foster home, though, L.R.M has
become well-adjusted and happy. She also bonded with her
foster family, viewed the other children in the home as her
siblings, and wished to remain there. Removing the children
would be "detrimental" to her, according to the
counselor. A counselor who interviewed the child also opined
that L.R.M. should be allowed to remain with her foster
parents so the child could have permanence and stability.
That the children have adapted to their foster environment,
have developed a good relationship with their foster parents,