IN THE INTEREST OF J. M. AND J.M.
Appeal from the 311th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case Nos. 2008-17643 & 2016-88434
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Jennings and
Radack Chief Justice.
these two appeals, G.M. ("Mother") challenges the
final judgments terminating the parent-child relationship
between her and her two children, J.M. and J.M. In her single
issue on appeal, Mother challenges the factual sufficiency of
the evidence to support the trial court's findings that
termination of the parental-child relationship is in the
children's best interest. We affirm.
cases involve two brothers, John and James, who were nine and
five years old, respectively, at the time of trial. When
Mother gave birth to John in 2008, both she and John tested
positive for PCP. Mother successfully participated in Family
Based Safety Services provided by the Department of Family
& Protective Services ("the Department").
James was born in 2012, both Mother and James tested positive
for PCP, and the doctor reported Mother to the Department.
The Department initiated a second case based on neglectful
supervision. Mother acknowledged that she took PCP while she
was in labor with James. She explained that she had already
had the drugs and that she used them to take away the pain.
She denied using PCP on a regular basis, but admitted that
she had used it "about three times" during her
pregnancy, and then again while she was in labor. This second
investigation turned up a significant criminal history going
back to 2000, and included arrests and convictions for
resisting arrest and assault, twice for theft, terroristic
threat, and driving without a license, harassment, and
possession of a controlled substance, criminal mischief,
driving with an invalid license, assault causing bodily
injury, violation of a protective order, assaulting a family
member, and interfering with an emergency call.
the case was proceeding, Mother agreed to move out of her
parents' home, where she was living with the children,
and to allow the children to be cared for by her parents.
Soon thereafter, the grandmother called the Department and
stated that she could no longer care for the children because
she was suffering from cancer. As a result, the Department
sought and obtained temporary managing conservatorship of the
children, and they were placed in foster care.
successfully completed the necessary steps for regaining
custody of the children, and the Department returned them to
her in July 2014.
August 2014, just two months after regaining custody of the
children, the Department received another report of
neglectful supervision. According to the report, Mother was
in the Harris County Jail after being charged with criminal
trespass, but she was transferred to the Harris County
Psychiatric Center "due to her PCP use." At the
time of the transfer, Mother was "erratic, delusional,
aggressive, and agitated," and admitted that she had
just regained custody of her children from the Department.
The psychiatric center informed the Department that Mother
was "detoxing from PCP and there was [sic] concerns
since she had just gotten her children back in her
care." Her father told the Department that Mother
"was not acting like normal," and a neighbor who
had been helping care for the children said that she had not
seen Mother in two weeks. The Department interviewed Mother
and she admitted that she had "relapsed on PCP."
Department again sought and temporary managing
conservatorship of the children, and the children were
returned to foster care. Again, Mother successfully completed
the necessary steps for regaining custody of the children,
and they were returned to her in November 2016.
December 22, 2016, just over a month after regaining custody
of the children, the Department received another report that
Mother was again using drugs. The report alleged that Mother
was using PCP and/or embalming fluid daily and that she
"takes the children with her to the McNair area where
she buys drugs." Her father reported that Mother left
her own cancer-stricken mother alone in the home so that she
could use drugs.
December 29, 2016, the Department filed its petitions seeking
termination of the parent-child relationship between Mother
and John and James. That same date, the Department took
emergency possession of the children. Drug testing reports
placed in evidence at that time show that mother tested
positive for PCP and marihuana metabolite, TCH, on that date,
and again tested positive for PCP on December 30, 2016.
trial court held an Adversary Hearing on January 11, 2017,
after which it again placed the Department in temporary
possession of the children. Drug test reports on that date
again show that Mother tested positive for PCP and marihuana
was given a family service plan, which required her to: (1)
refrain from participating in any criminal or illegal
activity, (2) undergo a psychological evaluation, (3)
maintain stable employment, (4) maintain stable housing, (5)
submit to random drug testing with the provision that "a
no show will be taken as a positive drug test," (6)
undergo a substance abuse assessment and follow all
recommendations made by the counselor, (7) participate in
services described in the family plan, (8) obtain a sponsor
with 10 years' sobriety and perform work assigned by the
sponsor, (9) ...