Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont
IN THE INTEREST OF R.S.C. JR., Appellant
Submitted on October 15, 2019
Appeal from the 356th District Court Hardin County, Texas
Trial Cause No. 59344
McKeithen, C.J., Kreger and Johnson, JJ.
CHARLES KREGER JUSTICE.
remand for appointment of new counsel and re-briefing,
Appellant R.S.C. (Father) appeals the trial court's order
terminating his parental rights to R.S.C. Jr.,  A jury found by
clear and convincing evidence that Father violated
subsections (D), (E), (M), (N), (O), and (P) of Texas Family
Code section 161.001(b)(1) and that termination was in the
child's best interest. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
§ 161.001(b)(1), (2). The trial court subsequently
entered an order terminating Father's rights based on
predicate grounds (D), (E), (M), (N), (O), and (P). He
challenges the legal and factual sufficiency of the evidence
for predicate grounds (D), (E), and (P). Father does not
challenge the evidence supporting predicate grounds (M), (N)
or (O) or that termination was in the child's best
interest. We affirm the trial court's judgment
terminating Father's rights.
Jr. was born to Father and Mother in May 2018. The Texas
Department of Family and Protective Services (the Department)
removed R.S.C. Jr. shortly after his birth. At the time of
trial, he was one year old.
of 2018, Mother delivered R.S.C. Jr. at thirty-seven weeks
gestational age in an ambulance in the driveway of their
home. The day after delivery, the Department received the
matter following allegations of neglectful supervision of
multiple children ranging in age from infant to ten years.
The allegations leading to the Department's intake
included that when Mother delivered R.S.C. Jr., she tested
positive for amphetamines and cocaine. Additionally, the
baby's urine tested positive for amphetamines immediately
Trial Testimony and Evidence
The Department's Witnesses
Investigator Trahan testified at trial. Trahan confirmed she
received an intake involving R.S.C. Jr. on May 24, 2018.
Trahan testified that at birth, R.S.C. Jr. and Mother's
urine tested positive for methamphetamine, and they assigned
her to investigate on that basis. Trahan spoke with the
parents in the hospital the following day. Trahan testified
that the parents had a prior CPS history, and Father
expressed frustration about the Department's involvement
and resisted speaking with her. Trahan explained that
Father's behavior caused enough of a concern that a
security guard was stationed outside the hospital room door
while she spoke with the parents.
parents told Trahan they resided in Colorado, but they could
not provide a zip code, and the Department could not confirm
the address. Mother told the investigator that she was
unemployed, and Father was self-employed working
construction, which is why they came to Texas. Father told
Trahan they were living with a relative in Hardin County.
their meeting, the investigator asked about two older
children, one of Mother's sons from a previous
relationship and a daughter of Mother and Father's.
Mother told Trahan the older children were with her mother,
and they would be taking the children with them when they
returned to Colorado. Trahan testified that this alarmed her,
because prior to meeting with the parents, she reviewed their
CPS history and knew that the Department had already removed
the two older children from Mother and Father, their rights
had been terminated to those children, and the children were
in foster care. Trahan testified regarding one of the
Department's exhibits, an order of termination from a
prior proceeding indicating that Father's rights to their
older daughter were terminated on (D) and (E) grounds, which
meant he "knowingly placed or allowed a child [to
remain] in a situation that would endanger her physical
welfare and that he engaged in conduct that would endanger
her physical welfare." See id. §
testified that the parents initially denied any current or
history of substance abuse. Trahan explained that she
informed the parents she knew about their history and the
prior termination due to substance abuse, at which point
Father left the hospital room. Trahan said that when he left,
Mother admitted she used methamphetamines and cocaine within
the last three months of her pregnancy. In addition to this
admission about her drug use, Mother told Trahan that she may
have tested positive because the relative she and Father
lived with also used methamphetamines. Trahan explained that
Mother and Father lived with a relative that abused
methamphetamines, and there was an additional concern about
the child returning to a home where there was drug usage.
testified that she asked Mother and Father to submit to drug
testing the day of the meeting at the hospital, but they did
not voluntarily submit to testing until five days later.
Trahan did not know if they used that time "to clean out
their systems" but she explained to the parents that
because of the delay in testing, it would not give her an
accurate understanding of their current drug use.
testified Father contributed to the neglect of the child
because of his history of substance abuse and his chosen
living arrangement which made Father an inappropriate
placement for R.S.C. Jr. Trahan also expressed concerns about
Mother's drug use while she was pregnant, Father's
failure to intervene, and a married couple with a newborn
living in a home where drugs were being abused. Trahan opined
that a father who allowed a ...