I. Case Law Update

Each year, DFPS produces a case law update of select child protection cases. The 2020 Termination Case Law Update was prepared by the DFPS Appellate Unit: Michael D. Becker, Leslie Capace, Caroline Carow, Kellie Starr Price, Jerry L. Reyes, Rebecca L. Safavi, and Eric T. Tai.

The 2020 DFPS Termination Case Law Update is available online.[14]

The 2020 update includes the following cases:

APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

Burden is on Parent to Prove Indigence

In re S.C., No. 02-18-00422-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth June 13, 2019, pet.denied) (mem. op.)

Mandatory Duty to Admonish Parent Regarding Appointment of Attorney at Every Hearing

In re B.C., 592 S.W.3d 133 (Tex. December 20, 2019). See also In re S.R. Jr., No. 10-19-00235-CV (Tex. App.—Waco December 31, 2019, pet. filed) (mem. op.)

Denial of Appointment of Counsel

In re J.F., II, 589 S.W.3d 325 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2019, no pet.)

COMMENCEMENT OF TRIAL

Failure to Timely Commence

In re A.F., W.J., A.J., and J.J., No. 02-19-00117-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Sept. 24, 2019, no pet.)

New Judge Does Not Divest Court of Jurisdiction

S.A. v. Texas Dep't of Family and Protective Servs., No. 03-19-00884-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Apr. 29, 2020, no pet. hist.) (mem. op.)

Court Timely Commenced Trial

In re Z.S., C.S.-T., T.S-T., T.S-T., and T.S-T, No. 14-19-00891-CV, S.W.3d __ (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Apr. 28, 2020, no pet. h.)

INTERVENTION UNDER TFC § 102.004

In re M.B., No. 09-19-00247-CV (Tex. App.—Beaumont Oct. 3, 2019, orig.proceeding) (mem. op.)

PRE-TRIAL MATTERS

Insufficient Evidence of Reasonable Efforts Under 262.201

In re K.L.M., No. 14-19-00713-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th] Nov. 14, 2019,

orig. proceeding) (mem. op.)

Guardian Ad Litem for Parent in Termination Case Not Authorized

In re J.P.-L., 592 S.W.3d 559 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth, Dec. 19, 2019, pet.

denied) (mem. op.)

Bench Warrant and Motion to Continue

In re L.N.C. and K.N.M., 573 S.W.3d 309 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2019, no pet.).

TERMINATION GROUNDS

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(C)

In re B.C.H., No. 09-18-00437-CV (Tex. App.—Beaumont May 2, 2019, no pet.)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(D) and (E)

Scalp Infection

In re I.W., No. 12-19-00027-CV (Tex. App.—Tyler June 28, 2019, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

Exposing Child to Second-Hand Smoke

In re A.J.S., No. 13-19-00126-CV (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Edinburg Aug. 1, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Health Effects of Drug Use

In re A.G., No. 14-18-01089-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] June 6, 2019, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

Failure to Take Responsibility

In re A.S. and S.S., No. 02-19-00429-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Apr. 30, 2020, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Economic Disadvantage

In re A.F., A.F., and A.F., Jr., No. 10-19-00335-CV (Tex. App.—Waco Mar. 19, 2020, no pet. h.) (mem. op.)

Children's Improvements

In re A.K.C.K., In re I.G.K., Nos. 14-19-00549-CV, 14-19-00551-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Jan. 7, 2020, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Medical Neglect of Unborn Child

In re B.G.G., a/k/a A.G. and J.G.G., a/k/a J.G., No. 14-19-00278-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th] June 20, 2019 no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(L)

In re Z.N., No. 19-0590, (Tex. 2020)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(N)

No Reasonable Efforts Necessary

In re X.A.S., No. 05-19-01082-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Mar. 3, 2020, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Safe and Stable Environment

In re F.L.B., A.C.B., J.G.B., and E.B.M., No. 13-19-00319-CV (Tex. App.— Corpus Christi-Edinburg Dec. 5, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Inability to Provide Care

In re A.H., No. 09-19-00167-CV (Tex. App.—Beaumont Oct. 3, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Ability to Provide Long-Term Care

In re B.C and P.C., No. 07-19-00098-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo July 30, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Significant Contact, Reasonable Efforts, Safe Environment

In re N.A.V., P.A.V., A.J.V., L.V. and J.G., No. 04-19-00646-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Mar. 17, 2020, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(O)

Specificity of Order

In re A.J.W., J.W.Jr., R.L.A.W., and J.L.W., No. 04-19-00346-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Nov. 27, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

In re D.K.J.J., D.K.D.J., D.D.J., Jr., D.Q.D.J., D.K.J.J., and B.B.B., No. 01-18-01081-CV (Tex. App—Houston [1st Dist.] June 13, 2019, pet. denied) (mem. op.); see also In re S.B., No. 07-19-00146-CV (Tex. App.— Amarillo Nov. 5, 2019) (mem. op.)

Affirmative Defense Burden of Proof

In re A.H., F.H., K.H., and C.H., No. 11-19-00028-CV (Tex. App.— Eastland, July 18, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Evidence Sufficient Where No Service Plan in Record

In re V.A.G., C.M.G., and M.R.G., No. 04-19-00449-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Nov. 13, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(R)

In re L.A.J., No. 14-18-01039-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th] May 30, 2019, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

TFC § 161.003

In re M.A., No. 04-19-00648-CV (Tex. App. — San Antonio Feb. 26, 2020, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TRIAL

Trial by Consent

In re C.J.G., No. 04-19-00237-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Oct. 30, 2019, no pet.)

Questions for Jury Improper

In re J.T., 594 S.W.3d 782 (Tex. App—Waco 2019, no pet.)

No Right to Self-Representation

In re T.W. and X.W., No. 10-18-00379-CV (Tex. App.—Waco May 22, 2019, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

Possessory Conservatorship Appointment Must Be Supported by Evidence

In re A.M., No. 05-19-00412-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 29, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

TRE 803(6)

In re E.B. and M.B., No. 11-19-00001-CV (Tex. App.—Eastland Aug. 22, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Failure of Order to Comport with Pleadings

In re J.O., No. 04-19-00381-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Dec. 11, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

BEST INTEREST

Desires of the Child

In re Z.H., No. 14-19-00061-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] June 27, 2019, no pet.)

Emotional and Physical Needs and Emotional and Physical Danger

Testimony from Children Balanced against Mother's Actions

In re K.H., Q.H., Q.H., and S.R., No. 02-19-00247-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Nov. 22, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Parents Minimizing Medical Needs

In re A.D.K., C.D.K., and J.Z.K., No. 06-19-00019-CV (Tex. App.— Texarkana May 15, 2019, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

Parenting Abilities

In re E.A.R., a Child, 583 S.W.3d 898 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2019, pet. denied)

Other Considerations

Threats to Return to Unsafe Location

In re F.R. aka F.R. aka F.R., A.L.R., I.R.L. aka I.R.L., No. 07-19-00215-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Nov. 4, 2019, pet. denied)

Differentiating Parents

In re A.M. and A.M., No. 06-19-00037-CV (Tex. App.—Texarkana July 25, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Parentification

In re E.O., No. 01-19-00207-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 27, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

POST-TRIAL

In re E.O., No. 01-19-00207-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 27, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

INDIAN CHILD WELFARE ACT

Failure to Comply with Expert Witness Requirement

In re D.L.N.G., No. 05-19-00206-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas July 17, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Strict Adherence to Notice Provisions Required

In re A.E., No. 02-19-00173-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Oct. 1, 2019, pet. denied) (mem. op.)

No Error in Refusal to Transfer to Tribal Court

In re Navajo Nation, 587 S.W.3d 884, (Tex. App.—Amarillo Sept. 10, 2019, no pet.)

Notice Provisions

In re S.J.H., 594 S.W.3d 682 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2019, no pet.)

UCCJEA

Substantial Compliance

J.W. v. Texas Dep't of Family & Protective Servs., No. 03-19-00260-CV (Tex. App.--Austin Aug. 20, 2019, pet. denied) (mem. op.)