IN THE INTEREST OF B.B., B.B., AND S.B., CHILDREN
the 278th District Court Leon County, Texas Trial Court No.
Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Neill
GRAY, CHIEF JUSTICE.
and Skyler B. appeal from a judgment that terminated the
parent-child relationship between them and their children,
B.B., B.B., and S.B. See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §
161.001. The parents complain that the trial court abused its
discretion by denying their motions for extension of the case
and that the evidence was factually insufficient for the
trial court to have found by clear and convincing evidence
that termination was in the best interest of the children.
Because we find no reversible error, we affirm the judgment
of the trial court.
their first issue, the parents complain that the trial court
abused its discretion by denying their motions to extend the
dismissal deadline for 180 days pursuant to Section
263.401(b) of the Family Code. In order to extend the trial
court's jurisdiction beyond the one-year deadline set
forth in Section 263.401(a), the trial court must find that
"extraordinary circumstances necessitate the child
remaining in the temporary managing conservator ship of the
department and that continuing the appointment of the
department as temporary managing conservator is in the best
interest of the child." Tex. Fam. CODE Ann. §
263.401(b). In making this determination, the focus is on
"the needs of the child[ren]." In re
A.J.M., 375 S.W.3d 599, 604 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2012,
pet. denied) (en banc). Actions that are "considered to
be the parent's fault" will generally not constitute
an extraordinary circumstance. In re O.R.F., 417
S.W.3d 24, 42 (Tex. App.- Texarkana 2013, pet. denied).
Department was named the temporary managing conservator of
the children on February 1, 2018 after the parents did not
attend a hearing on a motion filed by the Department to order
the parents to participate in services. The parents'
whereabouts were unknown at that time and the children were
staying with their maternal grandmother and her husband. The
parents had not been served with the motion because they were
unable to be located. The children were formally placed with
the maternal grandmother by the Department.
parents made a general appearance at the status hearing in
early April, at which time they signed the service plan and
were ordered to take a drug test. The parents took the drug
test and had a visit with the children a few days later. No
other visits with the children took place during the
parents did not attend the first permanency hearing in July.
At that hearing, evidence was presented that the oldest child
and the middle child were needing therapy. The Department had
requested that the parents take drugs tests on several
occasions when the mother contacted them in June, but neither
parent took a test when requested. The mother eventually
completed two hair tests during the pendency of the
proceedings, one in July and one in October, both of which
were positive for methamphetamines. The father tested
positive for methamphetamines in April around the time of the
first visit. A second progress hearing was conducted in
August at which time the therapist for the older two children
recommended that no visitation be allowed because of the
emotional issues the children were having due to the stress
and fear of potentially having to visit with their parents.
The trial court entered an order that no visitation would be
parents finally began efforts to complete the service plan in
August or September, but did not begin therapy until October
and missed two of seven sessions with their therapist. They
did not have a stable residence or steady employment
throughout the proceedings and were living with a couple
whose children were also in the conservatorship of the
Department at the time of the motion to extend.
early November, in spite of the children's
therapist's concerns, the trial court ordered that a
therapy session take place with the children and each of
their parents separately before the end of November. Two days
later, the mother was charged with child endangerment
relating to an incident involving her fourth child who she
had given birth to approximately one week before her
arrest. The mother was accused of endangering the
child by driving while under the influence of narcotics. The
father was arrested for outstanding warrants at that same
time. Each parent spent around two weeks in jail. The
children's therapist spoke with the parents'
therapist and they agreed that a visit should not occur due
to the emotional distress of the children and the
parents' lack of participation and progress in therapy.
The oldest child began expressing suicidal ideations around
this time, which the therapist believed was related to fear
and anxiety over having to see his parents.
final trial was originally scheduled for early December but
was continued by the agreement of the parties to early
January of 2019. No complaint was raised to the trial court
by the parents regarding the missed visit at the December
hearing. Each parent filed a motion to extend the trial
court's jurisdiction for 180 days which was heard
immediately prior to the trial. After hearing evidence,
including testimony from the children's therapist and the
guardian ad litem that extending the trial court's
jurisdiction would be very harmful to the older children, the
trial court denied the parents' motions.
parents argue that the lack of visitation with the children,
not by their own fault but that of the Department and the
therapist, should have resulted in the extension of the
proceedings so that they can visit with the children and show
that they could provide a safe and stable home for the
children and the trial court's failure to grant the
extension was an abuse of discretion. However, the evidence
establishes that it was the parents' actions and inaction
during the proceedings that resulted in the denial of
visitation, and there was sufficient evidence for the trial
court to have found that there were no extraordinary
circumstances to justify extending the court's
jurisdiction and that the extension was not in the best
interest of the children. The trial court did not abuse its
discretion by denying the motions for extension of the trial
court's jurisdiction. We overrule issue one.