Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 1 Randall County,
Texas Trial Court No. 70, 180-L1, Honorable Jack M. Graham,
QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PARKER, JJ.
T. Campbell Justice
mother of R.K.R. appeals the trial court's order
terminating her parental rights.We will affirm the order of
the trial court.
time of the final hearing in late 2017, the mother was 38
years old; R.K.R. was eighteen months old. The Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services became involved
when R.K.R. tested positive for methamphetamine at the time
of his birth, indicating the mother's use of the drug
during pregnancy. The Department filed pleadings that
included a petition against the mother seeking removal of
R.K.R. The petition alleged several grounds and requested the
infant's emergency removal. The court granted that relief
and named the Department temporary sole managing conservator.
R.K.R. was removed from the mother's care at the
hospital. He was placed in a foster home with several of his
cousins. He remained there at the time of the final hearing.
final hearing, the court heard evidence of the mother's
twenty-year history of drug abuse and her struggle to
maintain mental health. After hearing the evidence, the court
took the matter under advisement. A final written order was
subsequently signed, reflecting that the trial court
terminated the mother's parental rights based on a
finding that clear and convincing evidence showed the mother
violated sections D, E, O and P of section 161.001(b)(1) of
the Texas Family Code. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
161.001(b)(1)(D), (E), (O), (P) (West 2018). The court also
found that clear and convincing evidence demonstrated that
termination was in the child's best interest. Tex. Fam.
Code Ann. § 161.001(b)(2).
the order, the mother challenges the legal and factual
sufficiency of the evidence supporting the predicate grounds
on which the court terminated her rights. She also challenges
the trial court's finding regarding the best interest of
R.K.R. and the appointment of the Department as the
child's permanent managing conservator.
of Review in Termination Cases
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 2017); In re C.H., 89
S.W.3d at 25-26.
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 a child's best
interests. 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).
mother's appellate issues challenge the legal and factual
sufficiency of the evidence supporting the court's
termination order. Under 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. But, 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
factual sufficiency review, a court of appeals 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). The best interest analysis evaluates the
best interest of the child, not that of the parent. In re
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 the 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