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Cogburn v. Arkansas Dep't of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

April 29, 2015

MELISSA COGBURN, APPELLANT
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES and MINOR CHILDREN, APPELLEES

APPEAL FROM THE CLARK COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. JV-13-126. HONORABLE ROBERT E. McCALLUM, JUDGE.

Dusti Standridge, for appellant.

No response.

ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge. ABRAMSON and HARRISON, JJ., agree.

OPINION

ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge

Melissa Cogburn, the mother of six children adjudicated dependent-neglected, appeals the Clark County Circuit Court's permanency-planning order, filed October 8, 2014, and amended October 27, 2014. The order sets the goal of the case as

Page 381

permanent custody of two children, J.C. (DOB 09/02/2004) and R.C. (DOB 08/13/2003), with their father, Jack Cogburn. The goal of the case for the remaining four children continued to be reunification with their mother. The sole issue on appeal is whether the evidence was sufficient to support the trial court's order. We affirm.

The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody and dependency-neglect against the mother on October 30, 2013, alleging that the children were dependent-neglected as a result of Melissa Cogburn being charged with DWI, having wrecked her vehicle with three of her children in it, and citing in an attached affidavit its long history with Ms. Cogburn involving allegations of environmental neglect, inadequate food, and inadequate supervision. The petition alleged that it was necessary to remove the children from parental care to protect their health, safety, and physical well-being. The petition also stated that Jack Cogburn was the father of the two oldest children, J.C. and R.C. The attached police report reflected that Melissa Cogburn was charged with DWIdrugs; endangering the welfare of a minor; having no liability insurance; careless driving; and violating the child-restraint law. An ex parte order placing the children in DHS custody was granted and filed on October 30, 2013. On November 6, 2013, Jack Cogburn filed a motion for temporary custody of J.C. and R.C.

On November 8, 2013, an order was filed finding probable cause that the emergency conditions that had necessitated removal of the children from their mother continued; the children should continue in the custody of DHS; and it was contrary to their welfare to be returned to their mother. DHS was ordered to develop a case plan and Ms. Cogburn was ordered to submit to a hair-follicle test for drugs and alcohol and to submit to a drug-and-alcohol assessment.

A consent order for temporary custody of J.C. and R.C. was filed on November 8, 2013, providing that their father was allowed temporary custody during the pendency of the case. An adjudication order was filed February 10, 2014, finding that Melissa Cogburn had stipulated to the facts contained within the affidavit attached to the emergency petition. Thus, the trial court found that the children were dependent-neglected based on their mother's drug use. The goal of the case was set forth as reunification with Ms. Cogburn. The trial court also adjudicated Jack Cogburn as the legal father of J.C. and R.C. and acknowledged the custody order filed November 8, 2013.

A court report was filed by DHS on March 19, 2014, wherein it was the agency's recommendation to continue the children in foster care. On April 7, 2014, Jack Cogburn filed a motion seeking permanent custody of J.C. and R.C. Melissa Cogburn responded that she was working with DHS to remedy the reasons for the removal of her children and was in compliance with the court orders.

On April 15, 2014, a review order was filed finding that a return to Ms. Cogburn's custody was contrary to the children's welfare. The trial court found that J.C. and R.C. should remain in their father's custody and that the remaining four children should remain in DHS custody. The goal of the case continued to be reunification, and it was found that DHS had made reasonable efforts to provide services to achieve the goal of reunification. The order reflects that Ms. Cogburn substantially complied with the ...


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