IN THE INTEREST OF CHILD v. <<

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Court of Appeals of Texas, Waco.

IN THE INTEREST OF P.B., A CHILD

No. 10-16-00255-CV

Decided: August 30, 2017

Before Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The trial court signed an order terminating the parental rights of M.B., the father of P.B., after a bench trial.1 The trial court found that M.B. had violated Family Code subsections 161.001(b)(1)(D), (E), (N), and (O) and that termination was in the child's best interest. In his sole issue, M.B. contends that the evidence is factually insufficient to establish that terminating his parental rights was in the child's best interest. We will affirm.

In a proceeding to terminate the parent-child relationship brought under section 161.001, the Department of Family and Protective Services must establish by clear and convincing evidence two elements: (1) one or more acts or omissions enumerated under subsection (b)(1) of section 161.001, termed a predicate violation; and (2) that termination is in the best interest of the child. TEX. FAM. CODE ANN. § 161.001(b)(1), (2) (West Supp. 2016); Swate v. Swate, 72 S.W.3d 763, 766 (Tex. App.—Waco 2002, pet. denied). The factfinder must find that both elements are established by clear and convincing evidence, and proof of one element does not relieve the petitioner of the burden of proving the other. Holley v. Adams, 544 S.W.2d 367, 370 (Tex. 1976); Swate, 72 S.W.3d at 766. “Clear and convincing evidence” is defined as “that measure or degree of proof which will produce in the mind of the trier of fact a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established.” In re G.M., 596 S.W.2d 846, 847 (Tex. 1980).

A factual sufficiency review in a termination case must take into consideration whether the evidence is such that a factfinder could reasonably form a firm belief or conviction about the truth of the matter on which the petitioner bears the burden of proof. In re C.H., 89 S.W.3d 17, 25 (Tex. 2002). A court of appeals must give due consideration to evidence that the factfinder could reasonably have found to be clear and convincing. In re J.F.C. 96 S.W.3d 256, 266 (Tex. 2002).

[T]he inquiry must be “whether the evidence is such that a factfinder could reasonably form a firm belief or conviction about the truth of the State's allegations.” A court of appeals should consider whether disputed evidence is such that a reasonable factfinder could not have resolved that disputed evidence in favor of its finding. If, in light of the entire record, the disputed evidence that a reasonable factfinder could not have credited in favor of the finding is so significant that a factfinder could not reasonably have formed a firm belief or conviction, then the evidence is factually insufficient.

Id. (footnotes and citations omitted); see C.H., 89 S.W.3d at 25.

We give due deference to the factfinder's findings and must not substitute our judgment for that of the factfinder. In re H.R.M., 209 S.W.3d 105, 108 (Tex. 2006). The factfinder is the sole judge when assessing the credibility and demeanor of witnesses. Id. at 109; see also In re S.M.R., No. 10-15-00093-CV, 2016 WL 7321302, at *7 (Tex. App.—Waco Dec. 14, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.) (“The [factfinder] is the sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony. ․”).

The following evidence was presented at trial: M.B. and B.V. share a child—P.B. B.V. also had a child from a previous relationship with T.R.—K.V. M.B. and B.V. cohabited with both P.B. and K.V. While B.V. worked, M.B. cared for P.B. M.B. also cared for K.V. when K.V. was not in school. Leigh Ann Romo, a supervisory investigator with the Department, testified that K.V. went to his teacher and showed her a scratch on his finger. Romo testified that when his teacher asked him how he got the scratch, K.V. said his “daddy” had “whooped” him. Monica Morante, an investigator with the Department, responded to the school with law enforcement after being notified of K.V.'s injuries. Morante testified that she interviewed K.V. and observed the extensive bruising to his body. The photographs of K.V., that were admitted as evidence at the bench trial, showed linear bruising on his face, back, buttocks, thighs, and arms, as well as the cut on his finger. Morante stated that while she attempted to observe K.V.'s injuries, he reported that they hurt.

Morante further testified that she interviewed M.B. and B.V. about K.V.'s injuries, and both M.B. and B.V. acknowledged that M.B. spanked K.V. with a belt and may have caused the injuries to K.V. Morante testified that the decision was made at that time to seek to have the children removed from the home for their safety and to have them placed in foster care.

Romo testified that after questioning by Morante and law enforcement, B.V. admitted that M.B. was abusive towards her. B.V. denied, however, that M.B. abused K.V. or P.B. When she testified, B.V. reiterated that M.B. had physically abused her. Romo stated that M.B. denied to investigators that he caused K.V.'s injuries. M.B. claimed that he only administered a spanking with a belt, although he may have missed K.V. a few times. M.B. also blamed K.V.'s injuries on B.V.'s mother.

Romo testified that after the children were removed from the home, M.B. was arrested shortly thereafter and indicted for recklessly causing injury to a child. A judgment of conviction was admitted as evidence and indicated that M.B. entered a guilty plea to the charge against him and that he was sentenced to eighteen months' incarceration. M.B. was not released from custody until after serving his sentence.

In determining the best interest of a child, a number of factors have been considered, including (1) the desires of the child; (2) the emotional and physical needs of the child now and in the future; (3) the emotional and physical danger to the child now and in the future; (4) the parental abilities of the individuals seeking custody; (5) the programs available to assist these individuals; (6) the plans for the child by these individuals; (7) the stability of the home; (8) the acts or omissions of the parent that may indicate the existing parent-child relationship is not a proper one; and (9) any excuse for the acts or omissions of the parent. Holley, 544 S.W.2d at 371-72. This list is not exhaustive, but simply indicates factors that have been or could be pertinent. Id. at 372. Evidence establishing one of the predicate acts under § 161.001(b)(1) also may be relevant to determining the best interest of a child. In re A.M., 495 S.W.3d 573, 581 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2016, pet. denied) (citing C.H., 89 S.W.3d at 27-28).

The Holley factors focus on the best interest of the child, not the best interest of the parent. Dupree v. Tex. Dep't of Protective & Regulatory Servs., 907 S.W.2d 81, 86 (Tex. App.—Dallas 1995, no writ). The goal of establishing a stable, permanent home for a child is a compelling state interest. Id. at 87. The need for permanence is a paramount consideration for a child's present and future physical and emotional needs. In re S.H.A., 728 S.W.2d 73, 92 (Tex. App.—Dallas 1987, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (en banc).

The Desires of the Child

There is no evidence in the record of P.B.'s desires. P.B. was approximately one year old when he was removed from M.B.'s custody and too young to express his desires at the time of trial.

The Emotional and Physical Needs of the Child Now and in the Future

The Emotional and Physical Danger to the Child Now and in the Future

M.B. argues that he is the appropriate person to see to P.B.'s emotional and physical needs because he is his father and loves him. M.B. believes that having P.B. and K.V. placed in the same foster home is a detriment to P.B.'s emotional and physical needs and constitutes a danger to him due to K.V.'s behavioral problems. K.V. has exhibited aggression towards P.B., and M.B. believes separation would prevent K.V. from abusing P.B. M.B. further argues that K.V.'s behavioral problems are keeping P.B. from being adopted. M.B. contends that returning P.B. to his custody would prevent P.B. from remaining in foster care until the age of majority. Finally, M.B. asserts that he has learned his lesson regarding the use of corporal punishment and will not be a danger to P.B.

Evidence of past misconduct or neglect can be used to measure a parent's future conduct. See Williams v. Williams, 150 S.W.3d 436, 451 (Tex. App.—Austin 2004, pet. denied); Ray v. Burns, 832 S.W.2d 431, 435 (Tex. App.—Waco 1992, no writ) (“Past is often prologue”); see also In re V.A., No. 13-06-00237-CV, 2007 WL 293023, at *5-6 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi Feb. 1, 2007, no pet.) (mem. op.) (considering parent's past history of unstable housing, unstable employment, unstable relationships, mental health issues, and drug and alcohol usage). A parent's history, admissions, drug abuse, and inability to maintain a lifestyle free from arrests and incarcerations are relevant to the best-interest determination. In re D.M., 58 S.W.3d 801, 814 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2001, no pet.). A parent's engaging in criminal conduct endangers the emotional well-being of a child because of the parent's resulting incarceration. See Karl v. Tex. Dep't of Protective & Regulatory Servs., No. 03-03-00655-CV, 2004 WL 1573162, at *3-4 (Tex. App.—Austin Jul. 15, 2004, no pet.) (mem. op.); see also In re R.W., 129 S.W.3d 732, 739 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2004, pet. denied) (“[C]onduct that subjects a child to a life of uncertainty and instability endangers the physical and emotional well-being of a child.”).

There is nothing in the record to indicate that P.B. was the victim of the type of abuse suffered by K.V. or B.V. “However, the manner in which a parent treats other children in the family can be considered in deciding whether that parent engaged in a course of conduct that endangered the physical or emotional well-being of a child.” In re H.N.J., No. 10-10-00365-CV, 2011 WL 2937473, at *3 (Tex. App.—Waco Jul. 13, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op.) (citing Cervantes-Peterson v. Tex. Dep't of Family and Protective Servs., 221 S.W.3d 244, 253 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, no pet.)). A number of courts of appeals, including this one, have also held that evidence of a parent's endangering conduct toward other children or family members is relevant to a determination of whether the parent engaged in behavior that endangered the child that is the subject of the suit. Id.; see, e.g., In re Baby Boy R, 191 S.W.3d 916, 925 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2006, pet. denied) (holding that a parent's guilty plea of aggravated sexual assault of his step-daughter was evidence of conduct endangering to the well-being of his unborn child); In re W.J.H., 111 S.W.3d 707, 716 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2003, pet. denied) (holding that abusive conduct toward other children “can be used to support a finding of endangerment even against a child who was not yet born”); In re D.L.N., 958 S.W.2d 934, 939 (Tex. App.—Waco 1997, pet. denied), disapproved of on other grounds by J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d at 267 n.39 and C.H., 89 S.W.3d at 26 (holding that a parent's neglect of older children could indicate that the child that is the subject of the suit “would face this type of treatment in the future if returned” to the parent); In re B.R., 950 S.W.2d 113, 119 (Tex. App.—El Paso 1997, no writ), disapproved of on other grounds by J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d at 267 n.39.

Romo testified that K.V. consistently told the Department that his and his mother's injuries were caused by M.B. B.V. testified that she originally denied to the Department that M.B. was the cause of her injuries, but she recanted her original statements and admitted he had physically abused her. Romo testified that it was emotionally endangering for a child to see his mom get beaten. B.V. also testified that she supported M.B.'s claim that her mother had caused K.V.'s injuries only because M.B. directed her to do so. Finally, M.B. pleaded guilty to recklessly causing K.V.'s injuries.

The beating of K.V. that brought the family to the attention of the Department was not an isolated incident. In response to a question at the bench trial about how many times he spanked K.V., M.B. responded: “I can't count; but I have spanked him before with a belt, ma'am.” M.B. testified that he had learned his lesson and would do things differently in the future. However, when questioned about what he would do differently, he testified: “What would I do different? I wouldn't never use a belt ever again.”

M.B. has shown little remorse for or insight into his behavior, indicating that his abusive behavior will continue and place P.B. in danger of physical abuse if returned to M.B. While M.B. admitted that he spanked K.V., he did not believe that he had done anything wrong. He testified that entry of a guilty plea was an attempt “to get out of this situation and try to get my son back,” not an admission of guilt. M.B. further testified that he entered a plea:

Only being that I was fighting the case. By the time I pled guilty, I took the plea offer, I was already incarcerated for 12 months. They was offering 18 months. So the situation was that I wasn't able to work the service plan. So I was planning on taking the trial but that was a process and time's not necessarily on my side, even up to this date.

So I figured if they are offering 18 months, I've already been incarcerated 12 months, they give good time on the State jail, which is six days on each month, which for 18 months would have gave me 108 days. So 108 days I'm calculating if I get the good time, I would have been out April 26, which would put me in a better position to work the plan.

He later testified:

Q. So you pled guilty because it would get you out of jail the quickest, is what you said?

A. No. I pled guilty to put me in a position to work the service plan. Now - - it's all in vain now if I get terminated. I mean what's - - I mean, I could have sat in here - - if I'm going to get terminated, I might have sat in here and fought it.

Q. But you didn't plead guilty because you were guilty of injuring that child - -

A. Ma'am - -

Q. - - the one you are looking at right there in those pictures?

A. Ma'am, like I said then and now, when I spanked him, I didn't see those injuries. So in my mind, I didn't believe I did that. Why would I want to take it to trial if I know I'm guilty and I'm a convicted felon? You know, I had to think in my mind that I didn't do it. I mean - -

Q. Do you still think you didn't do it?

A. Well, ma'am, at this point in time today, I'm taking full responsibility for that because I don't know anyone else to have spanked him and I'm - - you know, I'm not trying to play on anybody's intelligence or not take responsibility for it and man up. I mean this 18 months in the making, you know, they had to get there. Apparently I wasn't aware of what I had done; and I really, truly believed in my mind that I didn't do that. So, I mean, I've been punished for it. I mean, in jail, out of jail. You know, I lost everything. I lost my mom. I haven't seen them in 18 months; so, I mean I'm paying all the way around the board.

He further testified, “I did spank him and when I spanked him, I didn't see any marks.” Even after reviewing the photographs of K.V.'s injuries, M.B. still denied that he had caused those injuries.

I especially didn't cause the marks to his face. Now, what I did tell the CPS worker was that if there was some welts or some redness, well, I would most definitely have to take account into that.

But especially the marks on his arm and his face, I did not do. I mean, he didn't look like that when he went to school. His mother got him dressed, and she - - I asked her - - I double checked, and I asked her.

I said, ”Did he have those type of marks on when he left for school.” She said, “No,” because I questioned it.

Even when attempting to take some responsibility for his actions, M.B. still denied that he had caused K.V.'s injuries.

Q. So you think what you did there was wrong?

A. The markings on him is wrong. The intention that I had was not wrong.

Q. Even when you intended to keep hitting him knowing that it was possible that you missed, knowing that you were hitting this small child with a belt that ended up causing these marks?

A. Ma'am, I was in the moment; and I wasn't trying to hurt him. I understand what you are saying. It is wrong. It is wrong; and if I caused the marks, I'm wrong. [Emphasis added.]

The beatings of K.V. and B.V. clearly establish M.B.'s predilection for violent behavior. His criminal history also reflects his violent background and his ongoing involvement in criminal behavior. In addition to his conviction for the injuries to K.V., M.B. testified that he had been convicted of the felony offense of possession of a controlled substance and placed on eight years' probation. He also testified that he had been convicted of aggravated robbery and received a twenty-five-year sentence. M.B. and Romo testified that M.B. was on parole at the time he caused the injuries to K.V. M.B. also testified that after he was paroled, he was convicted of the misdemeanor offense of making terroristic threats.

In addition to the violence in the home, there was evidence of illegal drug usage. B.V. admitted at trial that she tested positive for methamphetamine after a hair follicle test. M.B. testified that he was aware that B.V. was using methamphetamine and that he found some in their residence. He did not, however, do anything to remove P.B. or K.V. from possible exposure to such activity. M.B. admitted to using cocaine, although he testified that was before P.B.'s birth. He also admitted using methamphetamine although he claimed that he did so only after the boys were removed from the home. Ann Oodo, M.B.'s parole officer, testified that shortly before his arrest for recklessly causing the injuries to K.V., M.B. tested positive for cocaine, amphetamine and marijuana, indicating a greater involvement in illegal drug usage than he admitted.

The abuse of K.V. and B.V., along with M.B.'s history of violence, supports that P.B. would be in danger of emotional and physical abuse if returned to M.B. P.B. was only about one year old the last time M.B. saw him and, presumably, not fully verbal or mobile. Romo testified that P.B.'s age would make him more vulnerable than his older brother and it would be harder for him to speak out about things that might happen to him.

The foregoing clearly supports that M.B. would be unable to meet P.B.'s physical and emotional needs in the future and would constitute a danger to P.B.'s future physical and emotional safety.

The Parental Abilities of the Individuals Seeking Custody and the Programs Available to Assist These Individuals

In reviewing the parental abilities of a parent, a factfinder can consider the parent's past neglect or past inability to meet the physical and emotional needs of their children. See D.O. v. Tex. Dep't of Human Servs., 851 S.W.2d 351, 356 (Tex. App.—Austin 1993, no writ), disapproved of on other grounds by J.F.C., 96 S.W.3d at 267 n.39.

M.B. has one other child, who is twenty-eight years old and lives in Denver, Colorado. M.B. was incarcerated during the majority of that child's life. He has no experience parenting beyond the one year he spent caring for P.B.

M.B. testified that he had primary care of P.B. after P.B. was born while B.V. worked. M.B. called Oodo and Tammy Herod, a teacher's assistant at K.V.'s school, to testify about M.B.'s relationship with P.B. and K.V. Oodo testified that she saw M.B. once a month in her office and once a month at his home and that M.B. always had his baby with him. She testified that she also saw M.B. occasionally with an older child and with M.B.'s girlfriend. Oodo noted that she had seen M.B. feed the baby and change his diapers, but she had never seen him correct or discipline either of the children. When Oodo questioned him about his arrest for causing injury to a child, M.B. told her that the injuries had happened at the child's grandmother's house. As previously noted, Oodo also testified that she administered a drug test on M.B. shortly before his arrest for K.V.'s injuries, which tested positive for marijuana, amphetamine, and cocaine.

Herod testified that M.B. would bring K.V. to school in the mornings and pick him up in the afternoons. This pattern was disrupted when M.B. experienced car trouble. At that time, B.V.'s mother started bringing K.V. to school and picking him up. Herod also testified that M.B. had accompanied B.V. on a parent-teacher conference. Whenever Herod saw M.B., he had P.B. with him. The few instances of positive parenting observed by Oodo and Herod do not outweigh the other instances of poor parenting exhibited by M.B.

M.B. could identify few resources to assist him in caring for P.B. if he were to regain custody. He has no family in Texas. While M.B. testified that there are programs to assist him, he did not identify them.

Romo and Maya Carter, a conservatorship worker with the Department, testified that M.B. failed to complete the family service plan as directed by the Department, other than completing a psychosocial assessment conducted at the jail. A failure to complete service plans can be one of a number of the acts or omissions by a parent that are relevant to a best-interest analysis. In re K.F., 402 S.W.3d 497, 507 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2013, pet. denied); In re A.B., 269 S.W.3d 120, 129 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2008, no pet); see also In re M.R., 243 S.W.3d 807, 821 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2007, no pet.) (noting a parent's failure to complete a service plan supports a finding that termination is in the child's best interest).

Carter testified that part of the service plan directed M.B. to “[o]btain a suitable home appropriate for the children, attend individual therapy, participate in a drug-and-alcohol assessment, attend protective parenting classes, have sufficient employment, clear up pending criminal charges, and complete a psychosocial evaluation.” Although M.B. participated in a psychosocial assessment, he wished to consult with his attorney regarding his participation in further testing. Dr. Shinder, who conducted the psychosocial evaluation, recommended that a comprehensive psychological evaluation be conducted to discuss and address some of the current concerns. This was never done.

M.B. blamed his failure to complete the service plan on his incarceration. He testified that while in jail he was able to complete a 120-day drug and alcohol program and a Peer Education Program. The drug and alcohol program also included “anger management - - it's a compilation of many topics, anger management, a little parenting, aftercare, thought processing, and things like that.” The Peer Education Program was part of the drug and alcohol program and included classes on cognitive intervention and sexual assault awareness. M.B. testified that he was also prescribed medications - - lithium and Prozac - - to assist with his mood and emotions. M.B. also participated in a family group conference by telephone from the jail when the Department's family service plans were developed.

Carter testified that she mailed to M.B. at the jail a “parenting, NA, and AA packet.” The letter included with the packet explained “what he would need to do, the assignments that could be done in reference to the parenting, the NA, and the AA.” Carter further testified that she provided letterhead with her name on it and self-addressed, postage-paid envelopes for him to complete the assignments and return them to her. Carter stated that M.B. never returned the completed packet to her. M.B. testified, however, that he received the packet, completed it, and sent it back approximately one week after he received it.

Carter also testified that M.B. had at least two visits with P.B. and K.V. after they were removed and before his incarceration. Carter testified that during the approximately two-week period before his incarceration, M.B. had other opportunities to see the children but did not take advantage of them. Carter additionally testified that while M.B. was incarcerated, he did not take advantage of the opportunity to communicate with P.B. through letters, gifts, or support. She noted that the packet she sent to him included the means of facilitating such communications.

The trial court could credit the testimony of Carter over that of M.B., finding that he had failed to complete the family service plan as directed. See S.M.R., 2016 WL 7321302 at *7 (“The [factfinder] is the sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony. ․”). M.B.'s failure to complete the plan and his failure to keep in contact with P.B. demonstrate his lack of interest in parenting.

The Plans for the Child by the Individuals or by the Agency Seeking Custody and the Stability of the Home or Proposed Placement

The factfinder may compare the parent's and the Department's plans for the child and consider “whether the plans and expectations of each party are realistic or weak and ill-defined.” In re J.D., 436 S.W.3d 105, 119-20 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014, no pet.). A parent's failure to show that he or she is stable enough to parent children for any prolonged period entitles the factfinder “to determine that this pattern would likely continue and that permanency could only be achieved through termination and adoption.” In re B.S.W., No. 14-04-00496-CV, 2004 WL 2964015, at *9 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Dec. 23, 2004, no pet.) (mem. op.). A factfinder may also consider the consequences of its failure to terminate parental rights and that the best interest of the children may be served by termination so that adoption may occur rather than the temporary foster-care arrangement that would result if termination did not occur. D.O., 851 S.W.2d at 358. The goal of establishing a stable, permanent home for children is a compelling state interest. Dupree, 907 S.W.2d at 87.

Romo testified that the Department would ideally like to have P.B. and K.V. adopted into the same family. Carter testified that P.B. and K.V. are housed with a foster family that is classified as a “foster/adopt” home but that the family has chosen not to pursue adoption of P.B. and K.V. However, the foster parents have indicated they are willing to care for both children on a long-term basis. Carter stated that the children are happy in their present home and want to stay there.

Romo testified that the Department explored placement of the children with relatives of M.B. and B.V. M.B. had a relative in New York who initially expressed interest in caring for the children. She ultimately declined to take custody after a home study was initiated because it would interfere with her work and school schedules. Carter testified that the Department also considered placement with B.V.'s mother and initiated a home study. She was not considered appropriate because of past allegations of abuse made against her by B.V. Placement with B.V.'s aunt was also explored. However, the aunt declined the placement as she already had custody of B.V.'s two older children who had previously been removed from B.V.'s custody by the Department. Placement with T.R.'s mother was also considered, but the plans fell through.

When asked about his plans for P.B.'s life, M.B. testified,

I want him to grow up a respectable man, and I don't want him to ever to do the things that I have done in the past. I want to be there for him. I mean, I have a - - I'm filing for disability, but I'm a good barber. I was thinking about going and getting my barber's license. Taking him to see the rest of his family. I wasn't able to do that with my first son. I want him to see his family. I mean, we from all over.

M.B. also expressed his belief that they could start over in Houston. “ — [W]ell, going to Houston. I want to get out of Waco. I don't want to get out of here and have to start from the bottom and, you know, be around familiar faces and places and things. I want to get a fresh start and just, you know, get on the right track.” M.B. further testified that the parole authorities have agreed that he can go to Houston, where he will be in transitional housing for a period. He will then look for a home and a job.

M.B.'s ability to provide P.B. a stable home life is questionable. Although he stated that he plans to move to Houston for a fresh start, the record does not reflect that M.B. has a job or reasonable prospects for one, that he has any other means to support P.B. other than applying for disability, that he has any plans for P.B.'s care if he does get a job, or that he has a place to stay other than at a state-mandated halfway house.

Acts or Omissions of the Parent that May Indicate the Existing Parent-Child Relationship Is Not a Proper One and Any Excuse for the Acts or Omissions of the Parent

The foregoing evidence supports the finding that the relationship between M.B. and P.B. is not a proper one. M.B.'s excuses for his acts or omissions have been discussed above.

Viewing all the evidence in relation to the Holley factors, we hold that a reasonable factfinder could have reasonably formed a firm belief or conviction that termination was in the child's best interest. The evidence is therefore factually sufficient to establish that termination was in the child's best interest. We overrule M.B.'s sole issue and affirm the trial court's order of termination.2

Affirmed

[CV06]

FOOTNOTES

1.   The underlying suit involved two children, K.V. and P.B. The parental rights of B.V., the mother of the children, and T.R., the alleged father of K.V., were also terminated, but neither has appealed.

2.   Any pending motions are dismissed as moot.

REX D. DAVIS Justice