In re M.P., 21-0360

CourtSupreme Court of Texas
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation639 S.W.3d 700
Parties In the INTEREST OF M.P., a Child
Docket NumberNo. 21-0360,21-0360
Decision Date04 February 2022

639 S.W.3d 700

In the INTEREST OF M.P., a Child

No. 21-0360

Supreme Court of Texas.

OPINION DELIVERED: February 4, 2022


Rebecca L. Safavi, Kellie S. Price, Caroline Carow, Anna Maria Ford, Eric T. Tai, Jana Wheeler, Tiffany Lauren Roper, Jerry Reyes, Michael D. Becker, Leslie J. Capace, Jennifer J. Burnett, for Petitioner.

Beth L. Mitchell, Ashley Barr, for Amicus Curiae Disability Rights Texas.

Helen Stewart Truscott, Dickinson, for Other interested party S., K.

Gabriel Perez, El Paso, for Other interested party P., M.

Julia C. Hatcher, Galveston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM

Texas Family Code Section 161.001(b) allows for involuntary termination of parental rights if a court finds by clear and convincing evidence both that a parent engaged in one or more enumerated

639 S.W.3d 702

predicate grounds for termination and that termination is in the best interest of the child. TEX. FAM. CODE § 161.001(b)(1)(A)-(U), (b)(2). Only one predicate ground and a best interest finding are necessary for termination, so "a court need uphold only one termination ground—in addition to upholding a challenged best interest finding—even if the trial court based the termination on more than one ground." In re N.G. , 577 S.W.3d 230, 232 (Tex. 2019) (citations omitted). However, due process requires that courts also review termination under Subsections 161.001(b)(1)(D) and (E) even after affirming termination on another ground because of the collateral effects of termination on those grounds. Id. at 237. The issue here is whether remand is the proper remedy for a successful factual-sufficiency challenge to (D) and (E) when termination is otherwise valid on another predicate ground. We conclude it is not.

On June 26, 2018, the Department of Family and Protective Services (Department) received allegations that Mother and Father were physically neglecting then-four-week-old M.P., using drugs, and keeping an unclean and unsafe home. The Department received additional allegations that M.P. had a swollen neck, was lethargic, and had bruising on her head. A worker from the Department visited the home and confirmed that M.P. had bruising on her head. But there were no signs that the bruising was caused by Mother or Father, nor were there signs of an unsafe living environment. Both parents also tested negative for drugs.

The day after the worker's visit, M.P. was admitted to the hospital for severe brain bleeding where she tested positive for cocaine and methamphetamine. The Department drug tested Mother and Father. Both parents' urinalyses were negative; however, Mother's hair follicle tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine. Father refused to take a hair-follicle test but admitted to using marijuana and methamphetamine. The Department took emergency custody of M.P., which the trial court blessed, and ultimately placed her with Father's aunt and uncle.

The Department prepared a service plan that in part required Father to schedule and complete a drug-and-alcohol assessment and follow recommendations for treatment; submit to random drug testing; schedule and complete a psychological evaluation; schedule and participate in individual counseling; complete parenting classes; and attend visitations with M.P. as scheduled in the Department's visitation plan. The trial court found that Father understood the plan and ordered him to follow it. Father did not fully comply with the service plan. He failed to submit to drug testing and attend his psychological evaluation appointments, and he had few visits with M.P.

The Department requested termination of both parents' rights. Before trial, Mother signed an affidavit voluntarily relinquishing her parental rights, see TEX. FAM. CODE § 161.103, so trial commenced on the termination of Father's rights. Father did not appear for trial but was represented by counsel. The court heard testimony from the case investigator, one of Father's Department caseworkers, a supervisor with the Court Appointed Special Advocates, and Father's aunt.

The trial court terminated...

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6 practice notes
  • In re R.R.A., 14-22-00217-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • September 20, 2022
    ...drugs, and no evidence of a causal connection between Father's drug use and endangerment to [the child]"), rev'd on other grounds, 639 S.W.3d 700 (Tex. 2022). 5. Homelessness A parent who lacks stability, income, and a home is unable to provide for a child's emotional and physical need......
  • R. S. S. v. Tex. Dep't of Family & Protective Servs., 03-22-00076-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • July 15, 2022
    ...burden of proof on the parent. See id.; In re M.P., 618 S.W.3d 88, 101-02 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2020), rev'd on other grounds, 639 S.W.3d 700 (Tex. 2022); see also In re G.A., No. 10-21-00001-CV, 2021 WL 1686721, at *2 (Tex. App.-Waco Apr. 28, 2021, no pet.) (mem. op.). Additional......
  • In re of L.T., 02-22-00197-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • October 27, 2022
    ...evidence of just one statutory predicate ground, together with a best interest finding, will support a termination order. In re M.P., 639 S.W.3d 700, 702 (Tex. 2022); In re N.G., 577 S.W.3d 230, 232-33 (Tex. 2019). When reviewing the sufficiency of clear-and-convincing termination findings,......
  • In re E.T., 02-22-00299-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • November 23, 2022
    ...at *2 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth June 9, 2022, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (quoting In re N.G., 577 S.W.3d 230, 232 (Tex. 2019)); see In re M.P., 639 S.W.3d 700, 702 (Tex. 2022). Therefore, we need address only two findings: (1) the trial court's predicate finding that Father engaged in an endangeri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • In re R.R.A., 14-22-00217-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • September 20, 2022
    ...drugs, and no evidence of a causal connection between Father's drug use and endangerment to [the child]"), rev'd on other grounds, 639 S.W.3d 700 (Tex. 2022). 5. Homelessness A parent who lacks stability, income, and a home is unable to provide for a child's emotional and physical need......
  • R. S. S. v. Tex. Dep't of Family & Protective Servs., 03-22-00076-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • July 15, 2022
    ...burden of proof on the parent. See id.; In re M.P., 618 S.W.3d 88, 101-02 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2020), rev'd on other grounds, 639 S.W.3d 700 (Tex. 2022); see also In re G.A., No. 10-21-00001-CV, 2021 WL 1686721, at *2 (Tex. App.-Waco Apr. 28, 2021, no pet.) (mem. op.). Additional......
  • In re of L.T., 02-22-00197-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • October 27, 2022
    ...evidence of just one statutory predicate ground, together with a best interest finding, will support a termination order. In re M.P., 639 S.W.3d 700, 702 (Tex. 2022); In re N.G., 577 S.W.3d 230, 232-33 (Tex. 2019). When reviewing the sufficiency of clear-and-convincing termination findings,......
  • In re E.T., 02-22-00299-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • November 23, 2022
    ...at *2 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth June 9, 2022, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (quoting In re N.G., 577 S.W.3d 230, 232 (Tex. 2019)); see In re M.P., 639 S.W.3d 700, 702 (Tex. 2022). Therefore, we need address only two findings: (1) the trial court's predicate finding that Father engaged in an endangeri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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