Appeal from the 29th District Court Palo Pinto County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. C47218
consists of: Bailey, C.J., Stretcher, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
having previously terminated the parental rights of
N.T.'s father, the trial court entered an order in which
it terminated the parental rights of N.T.'s mother. The
mother filed an appeal. In a single issue on appeal, she
challenges the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence
to support the trial court's best interest
finding. We affirm.
Findings and Standards
natural right that exists between parents and their children
is a constitutionally protected right, and termination of the
parent-child relationship can only be justified by the most
solid and substantial reasons. Wiley v. Spratlan,
543 S.W.2d 349, 352 (Tex. 1976). Termination of parental
rights must be supported by clear and convincing evidence.
Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b) (West Supp. 2018). To
determine on appeal if the evidence is legally sufficient in
a parental termination case, we review all of the evidence in
the light most favorable to the finding and determine whether
a rational trier of fact could have formed a firm belief or
conviction that its finding was true. In re J.P.B.,
180 S.W.3d 570, 573 (Tex. 2005). To determine if the evidence
is factually sufficient, we give due deference to the finding
and determine whether, on the entire record, a factfinder
could reasonably form a firm belief or conviction about the
truth of the allegations against the parent. In re
C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 25-26 (Tex. 2002).
terminate parental rights, it must be shown by clear and
convincing evidence that the parent has committed one of the
acts listed in Section 161.001(b)(1)(A)-(U) and that
termination is in the best interest of the child. Fam. §
161.001(b). In this case, the trial court found that
Appellant had knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child
to remain in conditions or surroundings that endangered the
child's physical or emotional well-being, had engaged in
conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who
engaged in conduct that endangered the child's physical
or emotional well-being, had failed to support the child in
accordance with her ability during the relevant one-year
period, and had failed to comply with provisions of a court
order that specifically established the actions necessary for
her to obtain the return of the child. See id.
§ 161.001(b)(1)(D), (E), (F), (O). Appellant does not
challenge these findings, but she does challenge the trial
court's finding that termination is in the child's
best interest. See id. § 161.001(b)(2).
Accordingly, we will uphold the order of termination if the
evidence is sufficient to support the best interest finding.
respect to the best interest of a child, no unique set of
factors need be proved. In re C.J.O., 325 S.W.3d
261, 266 (Tex. App.-Eastland 2010, pet. denied). But courts
may use the non-exhaustive Holley factors to shape
their analysis. Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367,
371-72 (Tex. 1976). These include, but are not limited to,
(1) the desires of the child, (2) the emotional and physical
needs of the child now and in the future, (3) the emotional
and physical danger to the child now and in the future, (4)
the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody,
(5) the programs available to assist these individuals to
promote the best interest of the child, (6) the plans for the
child by these individuals or by the agency seeking custody,
(7) the stability of the home or proposed placement, (8) the
acts or omissions of the parent that may indicate that the
existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one, and
(9) any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent.
Id. Additionally, evidence that proves one or more
statutory grounds for termination may also constitute
evidence illustrating that termination is in the child's
best interest. C.J.O., 325 S.W.3d at 266.
Interest: Evidence and Analysis
record in this case reflects that the Department of Family
and Protective Services removed N.T. from his parents when he
was nine months old. When N.T. was eight months old,
Appellant was experiencing some mental health issues and
decided to check herself in for treatment-where she remained
for only four or five days. She left N.T. with a neighbor and
instructed the neighbor to call N.T.'s father and have
him come get N.T. so that N.T. could stay with the father.
Appellant knew that N.T.'s father was a violent man.
Although Appellant had obtained a protective order against
the father, she nonetheless placed N.T. in the father's
care while she sought mental health treatment. Appellant
testified, however, that the father had only been violent
toward her, not toward N.T.
Department became involved while N.T. was in his father's
care. Soon thereafter, the father absconded to Michigan with
N.T. The mother helped the Department locate and take custody
of N.T. after the father took him to Michigan. At the time of
removal from the father, N.T. was developmentally delayed.
N.T. also tested positive for a variety of drugs at that
time, including cocaine, heroin, and cannabis.
long after removal, the Department placed N.T. in a foster
home; he remained in that same foster home throughout the
proceedings. The Department pursued termination of the
father's parental rights, and the parties involved in
this case proceeded on the presumption that Appellant was
going to relinquish her parental rights after the
father's parental rights were terminated; however,
Appellant changed her mind and decided not to relinquish her
parental rights. In response, the foster parents filed a
petition for termination by which they sought to have
Appellant's parental rights terminated, and Appellant
filed a counterpetition in which she sought sole managing
trial on those petitions, Appellant denied that, when she
left N.T. in the father's care, she knew that the father
used illegal drugs. However, there was some evidence
presented at trial that Appellant had told one of the
conservatorship workers in this case that, when she first met
the father, "the only thing he did was smoke
marijuana" but that she later became aware that he was
using cocaine, at which time "she kicked him out."
Appellant denied that she would permit the father to see N.T.
if N.T. were returned to Appellant; she testified that she
had made significant progress and could now avoid the father
and keep N.T. safe. However, text messages between Appellant
and the father were admitted into evidence. In those
messages, which appear to have been typed in January 2017
prior to the termination of the father's parental rights
in October 2017, Appellant asked: "So did they share
with you about how we can lose our parental rights, if I let
you see him unauthorized[?]" In subsequent messages that
same day, Appellant stated: "I'm
LOSING MY SON AGAIN, F ----- G WIT YO DUMB ASS";
"Bitch you forcing it, get mad at yourself n---a. You
DID DIS, HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE MF"; and "When
did [sic] case over, you could see him. But until then CPS
calling the mf shots." However, the record also reflects
that Appellant had obtained a protective order against the
father and that, in February 2017, she called the police when
the father violated ...