What Is Considered ''Endangering a Child'' In Texas ?

In Boyd v. Texas Dep't of Human Servs., 715 S.W.2d 711, 715 (Tex. App.-Austin 1986), the State sought to terminate the parental rights of a father who was jailed for burglary just before his daughter was born and who, while on parole, intermittently held three different jobs before being convicted again for burglary and receiving a five-year prison sentence. The evidence was vague as to the nature and amount of support the father provided his child while he was on parole. See Boyd, 727 S.W.2d at 532-33. The court of appeals defined "endanger" as "danger" or as "an actual and concrete threat of injury to the child's emotional or physical well-being . . . ." Boyd, 715 S.W.2d at 713-15. The court held that parental misconduct is insufficient to establish endangerment, stating "it is not enough to show parental misconduct without also showing by the evidence that such misconduct causes or allows a resulting threat of injury to the emotional or physical well-being of the child." Boyd, 715 S.W.2d at 715. However, the Texas Supreme Court expressly disapproved the court of appeals' holding that danger cannot be inferred from evidence of parental misconduct alone. See Boyd, 727 S.W.2d at 533. The Supreme Court redefined "endanger," stating: While we agree that "endanger" means more than a threat of metaphysical injury or the possible ill effects of a less-than-ideal family environment, it is not necessary that the conduct be directed at the child or that the child actually suffers injury. Rather, "endanger" means to expose to loss or injury; to jeopardize. Id. at 533.