IN THE INTEREST OF J.S. AND J.S., CHILDREN
Appeal from the 326th District Court Taylor County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 8479-CX
consists of: Bailey, C.J., Stretcher, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
M. BAILEY CHIEF JUSTICE.
an appeal from an order in which the trial court terminated
the parental rights of the parents of J.S. and J.S., whom we
will refer to as J.S.1 and J.S.2 in this opinion. The mother
filed a notice of appeal. In four issues on appeal, she
challenges the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence.
Standards and Findings
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 (Te x .
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.
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.
case, the trial court found that Appellant had committed
three of the acts listed in Section 161.001(b)(1)-those found
in subsections (D), (E), and (O). Specifically, the trial
court found that Appellant had knowingly placed or knowingly
allowed both children to remain in conditions or surroundings
that endangered the child's physical or emotional
well-being; that Appellant had engaged in conduct or
knowingly placed J.S.2 with persons who engaged in conduct
that endangered the child's physical or emotional
well-being; and that Appellant had failed to comply with the
provisions of a court order that specifically established the
actions necessary for her to obtain the return of the
children, who had been in the managing conservatorship of the
Department of Family and Protective Services for not less
than nine months as a result of the children's removal
from Appellant for abuse or neglect. 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 both children. Appellant contends on appeal that the
evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support the
trial court's findings with respect to the children's
best interest and subsections (D), (E), and (O).
record shows that the Department first became involved with
the children in this case in 2016, shortly after the birth of
J.S.2. At that time, J.S.1 was two years old. Appellant and
J.S.2 tested positive for methamphetamine and marihuana
shortly after J.S.2's birth. J.S.1 also tested positive
for methamphetamine. Appellant admitted that she had been
using methamphetamine since she was thirteen years old.
Because of Appellant's prolonged use of drugs while she
was pregnant with J.S.2, he was born addicted and suffered
from withdrawals to such an extent that less aggressive
withdrawal treatments did not work; instead, he had to
receive narcotic therapy.
Appellant went to the hospital, she appeared disheveled and
unclean and had lots of scabs and sores. She left J.S.1 with
a grandmother who also used methamphetamine and had serious
health issues. Appellant's paramour, who was J.S.2's
father, also used methamphetamine and admitted that he knew
Appellant was using. The children were removed and placed in
foster care. After the children were removed, Appellant again
used methamphetamine, but she subsequently went to inpatient
and then outpatient treatment and did not test positive again
while this case was pending.
evidence reflects that Appellant made significant progress on
her family service plan and was awarded a monitored return of
the children in September 2017. However, during the monitored
return, Appellant's home became unsanitary. There were
full trash bags inside, food all over the floor, food
containers and trash in a pile of toys, dirty diapers on the
floor, piles of clothes, cigarette butts under J.S.1's
bed, and lighters on the floor. The conservatorship
caseworker spent several hours helping Appellant clean the
house. However, the cleanliness of the house declined and was
back to the same nasty condition during a subsequent visit by
the caseworker. The caseworker testified that Appellant was
unable to maintain a sanitary and stable home for the
also neglected the children during the monitored return and
permitted J.S.2's father to visit. During the monitored
return, the children were unclean, had stuff caked on their
faces, had very greasy hair, and smelled horrible. J.S.1
would arrive at preschool in this condition. Appellant sent
J.S.1 to school in cold weather without a jacket (even though
the school had provided one for her) and without appropriate
shoes. J.S.1's teacher testified that, during the time
period of the monitored return, J.S.1's behavior
digressed; she exhibited aggressive behavior and seemed to be
very hungry while in Appellant's care. The teacher
visited Appellant's home and found it to be unsanitary.
J.S.1 also developed a cavity during the monitored return.
Prior to the monitored return, J.S.1 had to have root canals
and four crowns because of the extensive cavities that she
had when she came into the care of the Department. During the
monitored return, J.S.2 developed a bleeding diaper rash.
Appellant failed to tend to the children's medical needs
or take them to doctor and therapy appointments. We note that
J.S.1 was partially deaf in one ear and almost totally deaf
in the other. Appellant also failed to tend to her own
medical needs, creating a dangerous situation for the
children. During a home visit by the caseworker, she noticed
that Appellant was pale and asked her to check her blood
sugar. Appellant's blood sugar level was 297, but she had
no insulin in the house.
caseworker testified that termination of the parents'
parental rights would be in the children's best interest.
The child's attorney/guardian ad litem has filed a brief
in this appeal in support of the trial court's
termination order. And one of the foster parents testified
that she did not believe that it would ...