Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 73rd Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2018PA00632 Honorable Charles E. Montemayor, Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Patricia O.
Alvarez, Justice Irene Rios, Justice
PATRICIA O. ALVAREZ, JUSTICE
parental rights termination case, the trial court terminated
Mom's parental rights to her child A.D.G.[i] Mom
challenges the trial court's statutory grounds findings
(under subsections (D), (N), and (O)), but not the
best-interest-of-the-child finding. We affirm the trial
March 2018, the Department of Family and Protective Services
received a report alleging neglect by Mom of her child
A.D.G.[ii] Because Mom was hospitalized after
a seizure and there was no one to care for A.D.G., the
Department petitioned to remove A.D.G. from the home, and the
trial court granted the petition. In a three-day bench trial,
the Department alleged that Mom knowingly placed or allowed
A.D.G. to remain in endangering circumstances, she
constructively abandoned A.D.G., and she failed to complete
her service plan. The trial court found by clear and
convincing evidence that Mom's course of conduct met the
grounds in Family Code section 161.001(b)(1)'s
subsections (D), (N), and (O), and terminating Mom's
parental rights was in A.D.G.'s best interest. Mom
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.
regard to the testifying witnesses, 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)
for Terminating Mom's Parental Rights
Statutory Grounds Findings
asserts that the evidence was legally and factually
insufficient to support the trial court's statutory
grounds findings. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
161.001(b)(1)(D), (N), (O).
single statutory ground finding, when accompanied by a best
interest of the child finding, is sufficient to support a
parental rights termination order. In re A.V., 113
S.W.3d 355, 362 (Tex. 2003); In re R.S.-T., 522
S.W.3d 92, 111 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2017, no pet.). But
"due process requires an appellate court to review and
detail its analysis as to termination of parental rights
under section 161.001(b)(1)(D) or (E) of the Family Code when
challenged on appeal." In re Z.M.M., 577 S.W.3d
541, 543 (Tex. 2019).
(D) allows for termination of a parent's rights if,
before the child was removed, see In re R.S.-T., 522
S.W.3d at 108 (relevant period), the parent "knowingly
placed or knowingly allowed the child to remain in conditions
or surroundings which endanger the physical or emotional
well-being of the child," Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
161.001(b)(1)(D). In the context of the statute,
"'endanger' means to expose to loss or injury;
to jeopardize." Tex. Dep't of Human Servs. v.
Boyd, 727 S.W.2d 531, 533 (Tex. 1987).
can be exhibited by both actions and failures to act."
Lumpkin v. Dep't of Family & Protective
Servs., 260 S.W.3d 524, 528 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st
Dist.] 2008, no pet.). "[A] parent need not know for
certain that the child is in an endangering environment;
awareness of such a potential is sufficient." In re
R.S.-T., 522 S.W.3d at 109 (alteration in original)
(quoting In re S.M.L., 171 S.W.3d 472, 477 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, no pet.)). "[A] single
act or omission" may support terminating a parent's
rights under subsection (D). Id. (citing In re
R.D., 955 S.W.2d 364, 367 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 1997,
pet. denied)). "Further, a fact-finder may infer from
past conduct endangering the well-being of a child that
similar conduct will recur if the child is returned to the
parent." In re D.J.H., 381 S.W.3d 606, 613
(Tex. App.- San Antonio 2012, no pet.).
Mom's History, Course of Conduct
trial court heard testimony from Mom, two Department case
workers, two of Mom's counselors, and the foster mother.
We summarize the evidence pertaining to whether Mom knowingly
placed or knowingly allowed A.D.G. to remain in conditions or
surroundings which endanger[ed A.D.G.'s] physical or
emotional well-being." See Tex. Fam. Code Ann.
Mom's Medical History
in her early twenties, she has epilepsy, and she has been
having seizures since she was about three years old. Mom
knows that she has tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures, and she
will be hospitalized if her seizure lasts more than thirty
minutes. She knows she will be incoherent for 15-30 minutes
after a seizure. In the roughly five months between
A.D.G.'s birth and her removal from the home, Mom