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Mosher v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

February 18, 2015



Aaron Scott Hill, for appellant.

No response.



Page 368


Appellant Christina Mosher appeals from the order of the Pulaski County Circuit Court terminating her parental rights to her daughter, I.G. Mosher's attorney has filed a no-merit brief and a motion to withdraw as counsel pursuant to Rule 6-9(i) of the Rules of the Arkansas Supreme Court and Linker-Flores v. Arkansas Department of Human Services, 359 Ark. 131, 194 S.W.3d 739 (2004). The clerk of this court mailed a certified copy of counsel's motion and brief to Mosher's last known address informing her of her right to file pro se points for reversal; however, she has not done so.[1] We affirm the order of termination and grant counsel's motion to withdraw.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody of I.G. on February 15, 2013. In the affidavit attached to the petition, DHS stated that I.G. was born on February 12, 2013, and that she was in immediate risk of danger because Mosher was an unfit parent. The affidavit indicated that Mosher had four other children who had been adjudicated dependent-neglected in December 2011 due to parental neglect and who remained in DHS's custody. According to the affidavit, Mosher had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and borderline intellectual functioning, and her psychological evaluation characterized her as " incompetent as a parent." The affidavit further asserted that I.G.'s father was Steven Goddard, who was homeless and who had lived with Mosher for a short time. The affidavit stated that Goddard was on supervised parole and had allegedly used methamphetamine in Mosher's home. Mosher still remained married to Kenneth Mosher, however, who was the father of her four older children and who had been incarcerated for abusing one of the children.

The circuit court granted DHS's petition for emergency custody on February 15, 2013, and I.G. was placed in foster care. I.G. was adjudicated dependent-neglected

Page 369

on April 15, 2013, based on neglect and parental unfitness. The court found that Mosher's prior psychological evaluation, as well as her instability and her lack of judgment that had continued since her other children were removed from her custody, demonstrated that I.G. was at a substantial risk of serious harm if returned to Mosher's custody. The goal of the case was set as reunification, and Mosher was ordered to maintain stable housing, employment, and income, as well as to attend weekly supervised visits with I.G., contingent on passing weekly drug screens. The court further stated that Mosher must continue to comply with the services ordered in her other case, that she needed to remedy her failure to use appropriate judgment, and that she had " to live a life that is safe for children."

A review hearing was held in August 2013, and the evidence showed that Mosher had obtained employment at a grocery store on April 15 but was fired only five days later. She had been employed at McDonald's since July. While Mosher had maintained the same residence, she had to request help from a church to pay her utility bills. When questioned about her relationship with Goddard, Mosher indicated that she had visited him and sent him money while he was incarcerated. Since he was released, Mosher stated that he had stayed at her home a few times, although their romantic relationship was over. Mosher had attended all weekly visits with I.G., although DHS reported that she had fed the child a Twinkie during one visit that caused I.G. to have an upset stomach for several days. The circuit court found that Mosher needed " to get moving" if she wanted to reunify with I.G. and that her gaps in employment and failure to regularly attend counseling sessions were not helpful in this regard. The court also stated that Mosher was not truthful about her relationship with Goddard and that " there is no trust in what mother says."

The permanency-planning hearing was held in February 2014, and Mosher testified that she was currently unemployed and doing miscellaneous small jobs, such as lawn care and remodeling. She stated that she had worked at McDonald's for less than three months. She also testified that she had moved to a new residence. Mosher refused to take responsibility for I.G. being removed from her custody, claiming that there was no legal reason why I.G. had been removed, other than the fact that her other children were in DHS custody, which she stated was " horse crap." The circuit court took judicial notice of the fact that Mosher's parental rights had been terminated to her other children in January 2014 and found that there was no fit parent for I.G. at the time of the hearing based on Mosher's failure to make significant, measurable progress. The goal of the case was changed to termination of parental rights and adoption.

DHS filed a petition for termination of Mosher's parental rights as to I.G. on March 26, 2014, and alleged four separate grounds for termination pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. ยง 9-27-341(b)(3)(B) (Supp. 2013): (1) that a juvenile has been adjudicated by the court to be dependent-neglected and has continued out of the home for twelve (12) months and, despite a meaningful effort by the department to rehabilitate the home and correct the conditions which caused removal, those conditions have not been remedied by the parent; (2) that other factors or issues arose subsequent to the filing of the original petition for dependency-neglect that demonstrate that return of the juvenile ...

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