Appeal from the 326th District Court Taylor County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 8664-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.T. Each
parent filed a notice of appeal. On appeal, the parents
challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support the
termination of their 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 the father had committed one
of the acts listed in Section 161.001(b)(1)-that found in
subsection (Q). Specifically, the trial court found that the
father had knowingly engaged in criminal conduct that
resulted in his conviction of an offense and confinement or
imprisonment and inability to care for the child for not less
than two years from the date that the petition was filed.
With respect to the mother, the trial court found that she
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 the mother 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 someone who engaged in
conduct that endangered the child's physical or emotional
well-being, and 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 the mother's
and the father's parental rights would be in the best
interest of the child.
parents challenge the legal and factual sufficiency of the
evidence in their issues on appeal. In the father's first
issue, he challenges the trial court's finding under
subsection (Q) and argues specifically that there was some
evidence at trial that he could arrange for A.T. to be cared
for by others until he was released from prison. In the
father's second issue and the mother's first issue,
they assert that the evidence is legally and factually
insufficient to support the trial court's findings that
it would be in the child's best interest to terminate the
mother's and the father's parental rights. In the
mother's second issue, she challenges the legal and
factual sufficiency of the evidence with respect to the trial
court's finding under subsection (O).
record shows that the Department became involved with
A.T.'s family when she was eight years old. At that time,
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 the
mother's care. At the time of her removal, A.T. tested
positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocaine. After
A.T.'s positive drug test, her older sister, A . W., was
also removed from the mother's care.
record indicates that a family service plan was prepared for
each parent. The uncontroverted evidence reflects that the
mother 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, the mother continued to test positive for
methamphetamine, including a hair follicle test that was
conducted five weeks prior to trial.
one year after A.T. was removed, but while the case was still
pending in the trial court, the mother was a passenger in a
vehicle that was stopped after leaving a known drug location.
She had narcotics hidden in her undergarments and was
arrested. About two weeks prior to the final hearing on
termination, the mother pleaded guilty to the second-degree
felony offense of possession of methamphetamine. Pursuant to
a plea bargain agreement, the mother's ten-year sentence
was suspended, and she was placed on community supervision
for ten years.
her arrest, the mother received inpatient treatment for her
admitted drug addiction. However, she failed to timely sign
up for outpatient treatment as required when she was released
from inpatient treatment. Additionally, she continued to have
various unapproved people in and out of her apartment,
including a man named Byron that was living in the
mother's apartment when A.W. and A.T. went there for a
Christmas visit. The mother later admitted that Byron was one
of her drug dealers. While this case was pending, police were
called to the mother's address numerous times, and at
least one "violent episode" occurred there. The
violent episode caused the mother to go to the "Noah
mother 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.T. was removed from the
mother's care. The mother 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. The mother did not want her parental rights to be
the father want his parental rights to be terminated. A . T.
's father was incarcerated during the entirety of this
case. The record reflects that he committed an aggravated
robbery with a deadly weapon while the mother was pregnant
with A.T. and that he had been incarcerated A.T.'s whole
life. The father was convicted and sentenced in 2009 to serve
a fifty-year term of confinement for the aggravated robbery.
Prior to the commission of that offense, the father had been
convicted in 1993 of murder, for which he received a
fifteen-year sentence and was released in 2006. The father
had also been convicted of a felony in 1989-delivery of
cocaine. According to the mother, A.T. had never met her