Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
Appeal from County Court at Law Number 2 Potter County, Texas
Trial Court No. 89, 857-2-FM; Honorable Carry Baker,
QUINN, C.J., and PIRTLE, and PARKER, JJ.
PATRICK A. PIRTLE JUSTICE
S.A., appeals from the trial court's order terminating
her parental rights to her daughter, A.C. aka
By the trial court's order, A.C.'s father, C.C., was
appointed permanent managing conservator and the Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services was dismissed
from the case. In presenting this appeal, appointed counsel
has filed an Anders brief in support of a motion to
withdraw. We affirm.
family has a history with the Department dating back to 2012
when S.A. was suspected of physically abusing A.C. as an
infant. Other allegations over the years included S.A.'s
methamphetamine use, physical abuse, medical neglect, and
neglectful supervision. In March 2017, S.A. was placed on
deferred adjudication community supervision for a term of two
years for possession of a controlled substance.
April 2017, when A.C. was living with C.C., allegations of
"overly physical" corporal punishment by him were
reported to the Department. A.C. was removed from his care
and the court ordered that A.C. be placed with S.A., who was
then living with her own grandmother. The grandmother's
home was clean and drug-free. However, S.A. began using
methamphetamine, had a falling out with her grandmother, and
eventually moved in with her mother. At the time, S.A.'s
brother was also living at the mother's home.
to S.A., while she was at work, her children stayed in
daycare. On one occasion, however, she had to leave her
children in her mother's care. S.A. was subsequently
notified at work that her brother was accused of molesting
A.C. The Department removed A.C. and her younger sibling from
S.A.'s custody when she admitted to having relapsed in
her drug use at that time. As a part of her service plan,
S.A. was ordered to complete a substance abuse program.
she was released from that program, she was sober for six
months before relapsing again by using methamphetamine. This
time, the Department moved to proceed to an adjudication of
guilt on her possession of controlled substance community
supervision. In exchange for her plea of true, the trial
court extended the period of her community supervision for an
additional year and ordered that the terms of her supervision
be amended to include treatment in a Substance Abuse Felony
Punishment Facility (SAFPF), a secure lock-up facility.
to the caseworker, the Department expressed concern about
whether S.A. could protect A.C. given that she knew her
brother was a drug addict whom she knowingly allowed to be
around her children. Over objection, the caseworker testified
that A.C. had made an outcry to her that her uncle had
molested her while they were living in her grandmother's
home. When the children were removed based on A.C.'s
outcry, the Department found no appropriate caregivers and
A.C. was placed in a foster home in Lubbock. Based on the
most recent allegations, the Department generated revised
family service plans for both S.A. and C.C.
completed his services and cooperated with the Department. He
had recently married, and his wife wanted to adopt A.C. The
court ordered that A.C. live with her father pursuant to a
monitored return. The caseworker visited the home weekly to
observe A.C. and he reported that she was happy living with
her father and new stepmother.
the prolonged history of the case and the goal of permanency
for the child, the Department proceeded to terminate
S.A.'s parental rights while leaving C.C.'s rights
intact. During the final hearing, the caseworker testified
that despite knowing about her brother's drug use and the
allegations of sexual abuse, she knowingly left her children
in his care and possession anyway.
caseworker further testified that during the course of the
case, C.C. had matured, completed all his services, was
promoted at his job, and had married. He had improved as a
parent and was emotionally supportive to A.C. He described
A.C. as having "blossomed." Her behavior had
improved, and she was making good grades, participating in
activities, and was enjoying being "a normal
child." Based on the caseworker's observations of
A.C. with her father and stepmother, he opined A.C. was
"very bonded" and "warm" and that their
household was a "normal family situation."
contrast, there was testimony by the caseworker that visits
and contact between A.C. and her mother caused A.C. long-term
stress and trauma. No-shows for visits by S.A. also upset
A.C. Based upon all of these factors, the caseworker
recommended that S.A.'s parental rights be terminated and
that C.C. be named permanent managing conservator. He ...