I. Case Law Update

Each year, DFPS produces a case law update of select child protection cases. The 2017 update includes the following cases:

JURISDICTION

In re J.I.M., 516 S.W.3d 674 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2017, no pet.).

TRANSFER OF CONTINUING, EXCLUSIVE JURISDICTION

In re D.W. and K.W., No. 06-16-00076-CV (Tex. App.—Texarkana Mar. 31, 2017, pet. filed) (op. on reh’g.)

DILIGENCE REQUIRED FOR SERVICE BY PUBLICATION

In re E.C.Q.L., No. 12-16-00297-CV (Tex. App.—Tyler Apr. 28, 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.).

PARTICIPATION CONSTITUTES APPEARANCE

In re K.A.M., No. 04-16-00093-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio July 27, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

PRE-TRIAL MATTERS

Due Process: In re G.A.C., 499 S.W.3d 138 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2016, pet. denied).

Standing to Request Genetic Testing: In re D.L.D., No. 05-16-00523-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Oct. 13, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Grandmother Standing Limited: P.R.M. v. Tex. Dep’t of Family and Protective Servs., No. 03-16-00065-CV (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 26, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

Request for Guardian Ad Litem: In re K.B. and K.R.B., No. 07-16-00438-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Apr. 12, 2017, pet. denied) (mem. op.).

Right to Appointed Counsel: In re. J.R. and I.R., No. 11-16-00203-CV (Tex. App.—Eastland Jan 17, 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.).

Right to Jury: In re J.M.B. and T.A.D.B., No. 05-16-01311-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Apr. 27, 2017, no pet. h.) (mem. op.).

EVIDENCE

Soft Sciences and Expert Testimony: In re J.R., S.R., C.R., and C.R., 501 S.W. 3d 738 (Tex. App.—Waco 2016, no pet.).

Denial of Expert Witnesses: In re A.A.T., No. 04-16-00344-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Dec. 28, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

DISCOVERY

Failure to Supplement: In re M.F.D., No. 01-16-00295-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 8, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

TERMINATION GROUNDS

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(C) parent voluntarily left the child alone or in the possession of another without providing for the adequate support of the child and remained away for a period of at least six months. In re H.S., No. 05-16-00950-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Dec. 6, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(D) parent knowingly placed or allowed the child in conditions or surroundings which endangered the child’s physical or emotional well-being. In re Z.W., No. 10-16-00015-CV (Tex. App.—Waco July 13, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(E) parent has engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the child with persons who engaged in conduct which endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child. In re S.D., No. 02-16-00280-CV (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Jan. 5, 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.). Father’s Knowledge of Mother’s Drug Use: In re A.B. and A.A.D., Nos. 12-16-00275-CV & 12-16-00276-CV (Tex. App.—Tyler March 22, 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.).

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(F) parent’s failure to support the child in accordance with his ability during a period of one year ending within six months of the date of the filing of the petition. In re N.G.G., N.M.G., and N.G.G., No. 05-16-01084-CV (Tex. App.—Dallas Feb. 17, 2017, no pet.) (mem. op.).

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(H) parent has: (1) voluntarily, and with knowledge of the pregnancy, abandoned the mother of the child beginning at a time during her pregnancy with the child and continuing through the birth; (2) failed to provide adequate support or medical care for the mother during the period of abandonment before the birth of the child; and (3) remained apart from the child or failed to support the child since birth. In re Baby V., No. 04-16-00754-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio, Mar. 29, 2017, no pet. h.) (mem. op.).

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(L) parent has been convicted or has been placed on community supervision, including deferred adjudication community supervision, for being criminally responsible for the death or serious injury of a child under specific provisions of the Texas Penal Code. In re M.A.S. and K.D.S., No. 06-16-00059-CV (Tex. App—Texarkana Dec. 22, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(N) parent has constructively abandoned the child who has been in the temporary managing conservatorship of the Department for not less than six months, and: (i) the Department has made reasonable efforts to return the child to the parent; (ii) the parent has not regularly visited or maintained significant contact with the child; and (iii) the parent has demonstrated an inability to provide the child with a safe environment. In re J.M., No. 11-16-00092-CV (Tex. App.—Eastland, Sept. 22, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.). In re A.K.L. and S.A.A.P., No. 01-16-00489-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 8, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.).

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(O) parent failed to comply with the provisions of a court order that specifically established the actions necessary for the parent to obtain the return of the child who has been in the permanent or temporary managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Service for not less than nine months as a result of the child’s removal from the parent under Chapter 262 for the abuse or neglect of the child. In re L.A.M., No. 08-16-00157-CV (Tex. App.—El Paso Dec. 7, 2016, no pet.).

TFC § 161.001(b)(1)(Q) parent knowingly engaged in criminal conduct that resulted in the parent’s (i) conviction of an offense; and (ii) confinement or imprisonment and inability to care for the child for not less than two years from the date of filing the petition. In re A.O., No. 07-16-00331-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Mar. 3, 2017, pet. filed) (mem. op.); In re J.M.G., No. 07-16-00202-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Oct. 27, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

TFC § 161.004 Material Change in Circumstance In re M.J.W., No. 14-16-00276-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 9, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.); In re J.R. & M.D.N.S.T., Nos. 01-16-00491-CV & 01-16-00535-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 13, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.).

BEST INTEREST – HOLLEY FACTORS

Desires of the Child. In re G.N., 510 S.W. 134 (Tex. App—El Paso Sept. 21, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.)

Improvements in Foster Home Supports Desires Factor. In re G.R., No. 07-16-00277-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Oct. 25, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

Mother’s Parenting Ability. In re E.K.H. and K.L.H., No. 04-16-00374-CV (Tex. App.—San Antonio Nov. 9, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.).

The Stability of the Home or Proposed Placement. In re A.A.B. and A.B., Nos. 14-16-00855-CV & 14-16-00918-CV (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] April 11, 2017, pet. denied) (mem. op.).

VISITATION

In re J.Y., G.Y., and B.Y., No. 06-16-00084-CV (Tex. App.—Texarkana Apr. 28, 2017, no pet.).

POST-TRIAL MATTERS

“[b]ecause there is no indication in the record before us that [Father] agreed to waive his right to a de novo hearing, we hold the referring district court erred in denying same.” The case was reversed and remanded for further proceedings. In re J.A.P. and B.A.R., Children, 510 S.W.3d 722 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 2016, no pet.).

You can link to the 2017 DFPS case law update here:

http://texaschildrenscommission.gov/media/83509/dfps-2017-case-law-update.pdf