Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
IN THE INTEREST OF E.J.C., S.R.C., and E.D.C., Children
the 73rd Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2018PA00862 Honorable Charles E. Montemayor, Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Patricia O.
Alvarez, Justice Liza A. Rodriguez, Justice
Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice
appeals the trial court's order terminating his parental
rights to his children E.J.C., S.R.C., and E.D.C.[i] Dad asserts
the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to
support the trial court's best-interests-of-the-children
findings. We affirm the trial court's order.
October 16, 2017, the Department of Family and Protective
Services received a report alleging neglectful supervision
and physical abuse of the children. The Department
investigated and found the home was dirty, smelled of animal
waste, and had no electricity or water service.
children were removed and Dad was placed on a service plan.
Dad did not complete his ordered services. After a two-day
bench trial, the trial court found by clear and convincing
evidence that Dad's course of conduct met Family Code
section 161.001(b)(1)'s grounds (D), (O), and (P), and
terminating Dad's parental rights was in the
children's best interests. Dad appeals.
Required, Standards of Review
evidentiary standards the Department must meet and the statutory
grounds the trial court must find to terminate a
parent's rights to a child are well known, as are the
legal and factualsufficiency standards of review.
We apply them here.
for Terminating Dad's Parental Rights
Dad's Course of Parental Conduct
does not challenge the trial court's findings that
Dad's course of conduct met statutory grounds (D),
(O), and (P). See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
161.001(b)(1)(D), (O), (P).
Best Interests of the Children
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for the trial
court's finding that terminating his parental rights is
in his children's best interests. See id. §
161.001(b)(2). The Family Code statutory
factors and the Holley
factors for best interests of the children are
well known. Applying each standard of review and the
applicable statutory and common law factors, we examine the
evidence pertaining to the best interests of the children.
Witnesses at Trial
two-day bench trial, the trial court heard testimony from
Alicia Limon, the Department case worker, and Dad. The trial
court also heard from the children's attorney ad litem.
The trial court was the "sole judge of the credibility
of the witnesses and the weight to give their
testimony." See City of Keller v. Wilson, 168
S.W.3d 802, 819 (Tex. 2005); cf. In re H.R.M., 209
S.W.3d 105, 108 (Tex. 2006) (per curiam). The trial court
heard the following testimony.
Evidence of Best Interests of the Children
Department removed the children from the home because of the
condition of the home and because of illegal drug use by Dad
and his sister who lived in the home. Mom was not living in
the home. The home was dirty, reeked of animal waste, and had
no water or electricity service.
sometimes had his then-girlfriend Kelly watch the children.
Dad's arguments with Kelly sometimes "got
physical" in front of the children. Dad knows Kelly
suffers from mental health issues, and after he learned Kelly
was using illegal drugs, he continued to leave the children
in her care. Dad knew that leaving the children in
Kelly's care endangered the children's physical and
emotional well-being, but he and Kelly "were planning on
calling it quits anyway." See Tex. Fam. Code
Ann. § 263.307(b)(1), (7), (8), (10), (11), (12);
Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367, 372 (Tex. 1976)
(factors (B), (C), (D), (H)).
oldest child is seventeen years old and is currently placed
with the middle child in the same foster-only placement. The
oldest child has repeatedly stated a desire to remain in the
same placement with the middle child-who is six years
younger-even after the oldest child turns eighteen years old.
See Holley, 544 S.W.2d at 372 (factor (A)).