Appeal from the 1st Multicounty Court at Law Nolan County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. CC-7609
consists of: Bailey, C.J., Stretcher, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
an appeal from an order in which the trial court terminated
the parental rights of the mother and the father of T.T. The
father timely filed a notice of appeal; the mother did not
appeal. On appeal, the father challenges the legal and
factual sufficiency of the evidence. We affirm.
Findings and Standards
termination of parental rights must be supported by clear and
convincing evidence. Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 161.001(b)
(West Supp. 2018). To determine 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).
To 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. §
the final hearing in this case, the trial court found that
Appellant had committed two of the acts listed in Section
161.001(b)(1)-those found in subsections (D) and (N).
Specifically, the trial court found that Appellant had
knowingly placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain in
conditions or surroundings that endangered the physical or
emotional well-being of the child and that Appellant had
constructively abandoned the child. The trial court also
found, pursuant to Section 161.001(b)(2), that termination of
Appellant's parental rights would be in the best interest
of the child. Appellant does not challenge the sufficiency of
the evidence to support the best interest finding.
record shows that the family in this case had a long history
with the Department, based largely on the mother's long
history of using illegal drugs. In 2009, Appellant and
T.T.'s mother voluntarily placed T.T. with the maternal
grandparents as a result of a safety plan initiated by the
Department. In 2014, the mother gave birth to a baby with
heroin in its system. Appellant was not the father of this baby,
L.L.H., and was not involved in the conservatorship
proceeding that was initiated when L.L.H. was born. The
Department placed L.L.H. in the maternal grandparents'
home where T.T. lived. The Department later learned, however,
that not only was the mother using illegal drugs but that the
maternal grandparents were also using drugs: heroin and
methamphetamine. T.T. and L.L.H. were removed and placed with
a relative. At the time of removal, T.T. tested positive for
methamphetamine and amphetamine, and L.L.H. tested positive
for methamphetamine and cocaine.
voluntarily placing T.T. with the maternal grandparents in
2009, Appellant was largely absent from T.T.'s life. In
2010, Appellant committed the offense of aggravated robbery
in Dallas County; he was sentenced for this offense in June
2011 to a term of confinement for eleven years. Appellant
remained incarcerated at the time of T.T.'s removal.
However, Appellant expressed an interest in having T.T.
placed with him in the future and told the caseworker to
contact his fiancée. The fiancée informed the
caseworker that she and Appellant would be interested in T.T.
living with them after Appellant got out of prison. Appellant
did not offer the name of anyone else as a placement option
for T.T. while Appellant was incarcerated.
in prison, Appellant completed a parenting program and a
substance abuse class and was involved in a ministry
organization. Appellant was released on parole approximately
six weeks prior to trial, after serving seven and one-half
years of his sentence. He did not appear in person at trial
but, instead, opted to appear via telephone.
testified that, while he was incarcerated, he sent at least
two to three hundred letters for T.T. to T.T.'s maternal
grandmother. Appellant testified that he sent two letters for
T.T. to the Department's caseworker, Dr. John Fisher. Dr.
Fisher testified, however, that Appellant did not send any
letters to T.T. while this case was pending even though Dr.
Fisher had explained to Appellant that he could write letters
to T.T. Appellant acknowledged that he knew that, if he
wanted to have contact with T.T., he needed to send letters
to T.T. through the Department. Dr. Fisher testified that
Appellant had constructively abandoned T.T. and that
Appellant had had no contact with T.T. while this case was
pending. Furthermore, at the time of trial, Appellant and his
fiancée were not ready for T.T. to live with them.
Appellant requested more time to prepare for T.T. to be
placed with Appellant.
time of trial, T.T. was eleven years old and had not seen
Appellant in eight years. He had no relationship or bond with
Appellant and did not even remember Appellant. T.T. did not
want to come to court because he did not want to see
Appellant. T.T. wanted to stay with the relatives with whom
he and L.L.H. had been placed. Those relatives desired to
adopt T.T. and L.L.H., and they have provided a safe, stable
home and loving environment for the children. T.T.'s
behavior improved tremendously after going to live with the
placement relatives. T.T. begged these relatives not to let
anyone take him away.
argues in a single issue on appeal that the evidence is
legally and factually insufficient to support (1) the trial
court's finding under subsection (D)- because the
Department failed to show that Appellant knew of the
conditions in the grandparents' home-and (2) the trial
court's finding under subsection (N)- because the
Department failed to prove that it had made reasonable