Appeal from the 326th District Court Taylor County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 8683-CX
consists of: Bailey, C.J., Stretcher, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
WRIGHT, SENIOR CHIEF JUSTICE.
an appeal from an order in which the trial court terminated
the parental rights of the mother and the father of A.W. The
mother filed a notice of appeal. In two issues on appeal, she
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the
termination of her parental rights. W e affirm.
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).
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 one
of the acts listed in Section 161.001(b)(1)-that found in
subsection (O). Specifically, the trial court found 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 child, 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 child's removal from the parent 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 the child.
second issue, Appellant challenges the legal and factual
sufficiency of the evidence with respect to the trial
court's finding under subsection (O). The record shows
that the Department became involved with A.W. 's family
when she was twelve years old. At that time, A . W. 's
younger sister, A.T., was critically ill and was admitted to
the PICU at Cook Children's Medical Center. A.T. had Type
1 diabetes, and the mother was not providing appropriate care
for A.T., despite having been instructed on how to do so.
Family based safety services were instituted, but concerns
about A.T.'s blood sugar continued, as did concerns about
A.T. missing school, missing appointments at Cook, and
running out of syringes. The next month, A.T. was removed
from Appellant's care. At the time of her removal, A.T.
tested positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine, and
cocaine. After A.T.'s positive drug test, A.W. was also
removed from Appellant's care.
record indicates that a family service plan was prepared and
made an order of the trial court. The uncontroverted evidence
reflects that Appellant failed to comply with some of the
provisions of her service plan. She did not obtain or
maintain employment during the eighteen months that this case
was pending. And, most notably, Appellant continued to test
positive for methamphetamine, including a hair follicle test
that was conducted five weeks prior to trial.
one year after A.W. was removed, but while the case was still
pending in the trial court, Appellant was a passenger in a
vehicle that was stopped after leaving a known drug location.
Appellant had narcotics hidden in her undergarments and was
arrested. About two weeks prior to the final hearing on
termination, Appellant pleaded guilty to the second-degree
felony offense of possession of methamphetamine. Pursuant to
a plea bargain agreement, Appellant's ten-year sentence
was suspended, and she was placed on community supervision
for ten years.
her arrest, Appellant received inpatient treatment for her
admitted drug addiction. Appellant, however, failed to timely
sign up for outpatient treatment as required when she was
released from inpatient treatment. Additionally, Appellant
continued to have various unapproved people in and out of her
apartment, including a man named Byron that was living in
Appellant's apartment when A.W. and A.T. went there for a
Christmas visit. Appellant later admitted that Byron was one
of her drug dealers. While this case was pending, police were
called to Appellant's address numerous times, and at
least one "violent episode" occurred there. The
violent episode caused Appellant to go to the "Noah
testified at trial that she had sought and received treatment
for her disease/addiction, that she was no longer doing
drugs, and that her sobriety date was May 18,
2018-approximately three and one-half months prior to trial
but more than fourteen months after A.W. was removed from
Appellant's care. Appellant acknowledged that it took her
a long time to admit that she had a drug problem and to seek
help for it. She indicated that she was still seeing a
counselor and that the appointments with the counselor were
helpful. Appellant did not want her parental rights to be
Department's goal with respect to A.W. was for her
parents' parental rights to be terminated and,
ultimately, for A . W. to be adopted. The conservatorship
caseworker for the Department believed that, although it
would be traumatic at first, it would be good for A.W. in the
long run for the trial court to terminate Appellant's
parental rights. The guardian ad litem expressed great
concern over returning A . W. to Appellant.
was no dispute that A.W. was bonded with Appellant. A few
weeks before trial, A . W. indicated that she did not want
her mother's parental rights to be terminated but that
she wished to be placed in the home of one of her friends. By
the time of trial, A.W. and A.T. had been placed in an
adoptive home; however, they had only been in that home for
thirty days. Therefore, it was not yet known if the foster
parents in the adoptive home intended to adopt A.W. and A.T.
The foster parents indicated that "they are in it for
the long run" and "would not discharge these girls
no matter what." The trial judge conferred with A.W. in
chambers prior ...