Clay v. Texas Department of Human Resources

Clay v. Texas Department of Human Resources, 748 S.W.2d 598 (Tex. App.--Waco 1988, no writ), was a case where the termination of a mother's parental rights was overturned. In that case, an abusive husband made it difficult for the mother to meet her children's needs. See id. at 600. The mother finally sought help from the Department, saying that she and the children were not safe in her husband's presence. See id. The Department sought termination because, even though she had never physically abused the children herself, the mother had allowed her children to remain with her husband. See id. The court of appeals overturned the termination, holding that the mother posed no danger to her children, and any danger had come from the now-absent father. See id. at 601. The court further noted that the mother had made every effort to comply with the court's orders and Department's requirements. See id. In Clay v. Texas Department of Human Resources, the mother contacted the Department for help because she was being abused by her husband and the children were not safe in his presence. The children were placed in the temporary custody of TDHR at the mother's request. The mother paid all child support and attended almost all counseling sessions as ordered and visited with the children as allowed, but she had twenty-five different jobs and a number of different addresses during the three years after TDHR was granted temporary custody. In reversing the judgment terminating her parental rights, the reviewing court found there was no evidence the mother engaged in conduct that endangered the children. Id. at 600. The court noted that the mother posed no danger to her children and that she was "guilty of nothing more than suffering from some of life's misfortunes. She did not work at one place nor live at one place long enough to satisfy the TDHR." Id.