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Simmons v. Arkansas Dep't of Human Servs.

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

June 17, 2015

CHANTEL SIMMONS, APPELLANT
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES and MINOR CHILDREN, APPELLEES

Page 441

APPEAL FROM THE CRAIGHEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT. NO. JV-2013-125. HONORABLE CINDY THYER, JUDGE.

Brett D. Watson, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brett D. Watson, for appellant.

Tabitha Baertels McNulty, Office of Policy & Legal Services, for appellee.

Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad litem for minor children.

ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge. VIRDEN and BROWN, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 442

ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge

Chantel Simmons appeals the Craighead County Circuit Court's order of December 12, 2014, terminating her parental rights.[1] She argues that the circuit court erred in terminating her parental rights because appellee Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) failed to show clear and convincing evidence that terminating her parental rights was in her children's best interest. We affirm.

Facts

DHS filed a petition for emergency custody and dependency-neglect on April 8, 2013, alleging that appellant's children, K.H. (born 3/30/09) and P.H. (born 6/14/10) were dependent-neglected as a result of appellant's drug use in the home. Based on a hotline report, an agent of DHS went to appellant's home on April 5, 2013, and observed drug paraphernalia. Additionally, appellant tested positive for methamphetamine use. As a result, DHS placed a seventy-two-hour hold on the children. An ex parte order was signed on April 8, 2013, finding probable cause to believe that the children were dependent-neglected. The children were placed in DHS custody, and an attorney ad litem was appointed for them.

A probable-cause order was filed on April 16, 2013, finding that the emergency conditions causing removal continued and that the children should remain in DHS custody. Appellant was ordered to cooperate with DHS; comply with the case plan; obey all court orders; view " The Clock is Ticking" video; remain drug free; submit to random drug screens; participate in and complete parenting classes; obtain and maintain clean, safe, and stable housing; obtain and maintain stable employment; keep DHS informed of a current address; notify DHS of any changes in address or marital status; maintain weekly contact with the case worker; and provide DHS with a budget. Appellant

Page 443

was drug tested and found to be negative for all substances. An adjudication order was filed on May 17, 2013, wherein the circuit court found the children to be dependent-neglected because of parental unfitness due to appellant's drug use. Appellant was ordered to pay $37 per week in child support to DHS, and the children remained in DHS custody. The goal of the case was reunification, and the circuit court approved the case plan. The concurrent plan was relative placement, permanency, and adoption. Along with the same orders for appellant as previously set forth, appellant was ordered to submit to an intake at ...


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