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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Mother and father met each other at Alcoholics Anonymous. They eventually married and had two young boys. Father began drinking and abusing drugs after the second boy was born, though mother did not resume drinking. Father was arrested twice for assault and he was once jailed for theft. Police responded to more than 20 calls to the couple’s home based on father’s violence or drug problems. Two fires of unknown origin started in the boys’ bedrooms on different occasions. After the second fire, in October 2001, the boys were removed from the couple’s home by the Department of Family and Protective Services, but were allowed to return so long as father was not living there. In June 2003, when the boys were ages two and four, neighbors found the boys playing in the street at least eight houses away from their own home. Police took the boys home, where they found mother asleep on the couch, and she did not wake up for 15 minutes after the police arrived. The department removed the kids from mother’s home and she was convicted of two counts of child endangerment. The department told mother that she needed to install better locks on the doors, but it refused mother’s request to pay for the locks, saying it was important for mother to take responsibility. Father died several months later of a drug overdose. In working with a volunteer social worker, it was established that mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Lyme’s disease, chronic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. She had prescriptions for Lortab, Bextra, Prozac and Xanax. At other times she took OxyContin, MS-Contin and Paxil. Mother was frequently drowsy and unable to deal coherently with her children. Social workers said that mother’s home was filthy � with rotting food and animal feces throughout � but mother (and her daughter) insisted that she kept her house clean. The department and mother also disagreed over whether mother frequently missed or was late to her visitation with the children while they were in department custody. Mother and the department mediated a settlement that named the department as the children’s permanent managing conservator and named mother possessory conservator with visitation rights. The settlement was sealed and would not be reopened if mother completed a three-step program. If she did not complete the program, the settlement would be unsealed and entered as a court order. Under the program, mother was to participate in an inpatient substance abuse program by a certain date; 90-day outpatient treatment and counseling after that; followed by a 90-day monitored gradual reintegration with her children. Mother completed the first step, but she did not go to her outpatient treatment and counseling sessions, so the department filed a motion to enforce the agreement in and name it the children’s managing conservator. In July 2004, the trial court denied the motion without citing its reasons. Mother filed her own motion to enforce and name her the managing conservator after she finally completed the outpatient care. A jury found that mother knowingly allowed the children to remain in conditions that endangered their physical or emotional well-being; and/or that she or others who cared for the children engaged in conduct that endangered the physical or emotional well-being of the children. The trial court entered an order terminating mother’s parental rights to the two boys. HOLDING:Affirmed. Mother first argues on appeal that the trial court’s July 2004 denial of the department’s motion constituted an implicit finding that she complied with her obligations under the agreement. The court says it will not speculate about the basis for the trial court’s order, noting that the trial court could not have found that mother met her obligations under the agreement because she did not go to her outpatient care sessions. Turning to the sufficiency of the evidence, the court first finds that evidence of mother’s physical disability, her required medication and her resulting inability to oversee the safety of her children was well established. This evidence would support the finding that she engaged in conduct that endangered the children’s well-being. Furthermore, the jury could easily have determined that mother’s condition rendered her incapable of understanding how and when her actions, or inability to act, caused risk to the children. Finally, the court finds the evidence sufficient to support termination of mother’s parental rights. Evidence shows that mother was unable to care for them, and that their foster parents were interested in adopting them, providing them with a safe and stable environment for the first time. OPINION:Kerry P. FitzGerald, J.; Thomas, C.J., Morris and FitzGerald, J.J.

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