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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:According to the court’s opinion, Harry Smith was convicted in February 2000 of attempting to smuggle cocaine. Before he was to surrender into custody for a 30-month federal boot camp, Smith began a sexual relationship with Deanna Wyrick and the couple decided they wanted to have a child. During the relationship, Smith knew that Wyrick used drugs and more than once drove Wyrick places to get drugs. Though Smith did not learn of Wyrick’s pregnancy until September or October of 2000, Wyrick did indeed become pregnant, using drugs throughout her pregnancy, and she gave birth to a daughter, J.W., in December 2000. In 2001, Child Protective Services removed J.W. from Wyrick’s custody. J.W. was placed in the foster home of Benjamin and Lara Olsson. In August 2002, the Olssons sent Smith a letter informing him of J.W.’s birth. They also sent him a petition to terminate his parental rights. Smith requested possession of J.W., and the Olssons let him visit with J.W. for two months. A trial court entered temporary orders in January 2003 allowing Smith to see J.W. twice a week. The Olssons then moved to Arkansas in June 2003. Trial on the petition for termination commenced, where evidence of Smith’s past life as a drug dealer was presented, though Smith testified that he had left his old ways behind. Smith presented character witnesses, but other witnesses testified that Smith’s current wife, Jan Murphy, was an alcoholic. Concluding that Smith engaged in conduct that endangered J.W.’s physical or emotional well-being, and that termination of Smith’s parental rights was in J.W.’s best interest, a jury recommended granting the Olssons’ petition. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court points out that to have one’s parental rights terminated under Family Code 161.001, there must be a finding that the parent engaged in any one of the acts or omissions itemized in subsection (1) of the provision. One of those acts or omissions includes parental conduct that knowingly places a child with persons who engage in conduct that endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the child. The court adds that the parent need not know of the child’s existence in order to support a finding under this enumerated act. Though a single act or omission is not enough to meet this section, a voluntary, deliberate and conscious �course of conduct� will. The court notes that being in prison, by itself, is not enough to satisfy the section, either, but imprisonment can be a part of a course of conduct endangering the child. Here, it is undisputed that Smith went to federal boot camp for drug dealing. Before he left, he and Wyrick, whom he knew to be on drugs, and whom he helped obtain drugs, intentionally tried to have a baby. Wyrick used drugs during and after the pregnancy, and she eventually lost custody of J.W. because of her drug use. The court rejects Smith’s attempt to justify his conduct on the basis of Wyrick’s alleged statement that she had a 10-day long menstrual cycle, which Smith considered to be a miscarriage. Smith says the pair stopped trying to have a baby only after this incident, and it was only then that he took Wyrick to get drugs. Wyrick disputes making such a statement, but the court says it doesn’t matter because the fact does not bear on the issue of the otherwise undisputed evidence of Smith’s conduct. A second finding must be made under 161.001, the court continues: that the termination is in the best interest of the child. Here, there was evidence in the form of psychologists’ testimony that J.W. had bonded with the Olssons, that the Olssons provided a stable, secure and safe home for J.W., and that removing J.W. from the Olssons’ home would be devastating to her. The court rules that the evidence is factually and legally sufficient to support both findings under 161.001. OPINION:Lang, J.; O’Neill, Lang and Lang-Miers, JJ.

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