Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
IN THE INTEREST OF Q.C. AND I.M., CHILDREN
Submitted: June 24, 2019
Appeal from the 307th District Court Gregg County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2018-551-DR
Morriss, C.J., Burgess and Stevens, JJ.
K. BURGESS JUSTICE
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
(Department) filed a petition to terminate Kim's parental
rights to her children, Quinn and Isabelle. The trial court
terminated Kim's parental rights after finding that: (1)
she knowingly placed or allowed Quinn and Isabelle to remain
in conditions or surroundings which endangered their physical
or emotional well-being; (2) she constructively abandoned the
children as described in Section 161.001(b)(1)(N) of the
Texas Family Code; (3) she failed to comply with the
provisions of a court order that specifically established the
actions necessary for her to obtain the return of Quinn and
Isabelle, as described in Section 161.001(b)(1)(O); (4) she
used a controlled substance in a manner that endangered the
health or safety of the children as described in Section
161.001(b)(1)(P); and (5) termination of her parental rights
was in the children's best interests. See Tex.
Fam. Code Ann. §161.001(b)(1)(D), (N), (O), (P), (b)(2)
appeal, Kim challenges only the factual sufficiency
supporting the trial court's best-interests finding. We
overrule Kim's sole point of error because it is
inadequately briefed. We affirm the trial court's
The Evidence at Trial
Tullberg, an investigator with the Department, testified that
she received reports alleging that Kim was using drugs in
front of one-year-old Quinn and eight-month-old Isabelle.
Tullberg travelled to Kim's home, asked her about the
allegations, and witnessed Kim screaming at Quinn
"simply for crying." Kim agreed to take a drug test
and place the children with their aunt, Sally, until the test
results were returned.
to Tullberg, Kim later went to Sally's house to demand
the children's return while she was under the influence
of a drug. Kim refused Tullberg's request to take
"an instant read drug test." However, the test
results from the urinalysis concluded on the day of the
children's removal proved positive for amphetamines,
methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marihuana,
hydrocodone, and hydromorphone. Isabelle also tested positive
for methamphetamine and cocaine.
Daniels-Scott, a Department conservatorship worker, testified
that she developed a family service plan for Kim, but that
Kim failed to make any effort to complete the plan.
Daniels-Scott went to the address Kim provided and found the
apartment empty with the door open and "window busted
out." According to Daniels-Scott, Kim was arrested for
criminal trespasses, possession of a controlled substance,
and possession of marihuana during the pendency of the case;
was regularly "in and out of jail"; and was
incarcerated at the time of the final hearing. Daniels-Scott
testified that Kim never provided proof that she had a job or
could financially care for the children. Although Kim did not
participate in visits provided through the Department, she
visited the children at Sally's home.
and Brook Davis, the Court Appointed Special Advocate for the
children, testified that Quinn and Isabelle were thriving in
Sally's home and were bonded to her. Daniels-Scott and
Davis believed that termination of Kim's parental rights
was in the children's best interests because they would
have a chance to "grow up in a drug-free home." The
Department's plan was for Sally to adopt the children.
advice of her attorney, Kim decided not to testify because
her cross-examination could affect her pending criminal case.
However, she made a statement to the trial court that she was
twenty-one years old and was "still raising [her]self
amidst . . . raising [her] two little girls." Kim told
the trial court that she wanted to place the children with
another family member and agreed that doing so would be in
the children's best interests.
Kim Does Not Challenge the Statutory Grounds Supporting
Termination of Her Parental Rights
natural right existing between parents and their children is
of constitutional dimensions." Holick v. Smith,
685 S.W.2d 18, 20 (Tex. 1985). Indeed, parents have a
fundamental right to make decisions concerning "the
care, custody, and control of their children."
Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65 (2000).
"Because the termination of parental rights implicates
fundamental interests, a higher standard of proof-clear and
convincing evidence-is required at trial." In re
A.B., 437 S.W.3d 498, 502 (Tex. 2014). This Court is
therefore required to "engage in an exacting review of
the entire record to determine if the evidence is . . .
sufficient to support the termination of parental
rights." Id. at 500. "[I]nvoluntary
termination statutes are ...