FROM THE YELL COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SOUTHERN DISTRICT. NO.
JV-2013-12. HONORABLE TERRY SULLIVAN, JUDGE.
APPELLANT: LEAH BETH LANFORD.
APPELLEE: KEITH L CHRESTMAN; JERALD A SHARUM.
J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge. VIRDEN and GRUBER, JJ., agree.
J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge
Kristin Bell's parental rights to her two-year-old
daughter, A.M., were terminated by the Yell County Circuit
Court. Kristin argues that the circuit court's order
should be reversed because appellee Arkansas Department of
Human Services (ADHS) failed to properly serve the petition
for termination of parental rights (TPR) on her as required
by Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-27-341(b)(2)(A) (Repl.
2015). Kristin also argues for reversal because the evidence
was insufficient to prove the statutory grounds pled in
support of TPR or that it was in A.M.'s best interest to
terminate her parental rights. We affirm.
her first argument, we hold that Kristin waived any objection
to service through her appearance by her attorney at the
termination hearing and she failed to preserve the issue with
the circuit court. See, e.g., Ark. Dep't of
Health & Human Servs. v. Jones, 97 Ark.App. 267, 248
S.W.3d 507 (2007); Myers v. Ark. Dep't of Human
Servs., 91 Ark.App. 53, 208 S.W.3d 241 (2005). Arkansas
appellate courts have repeatedly stated that the failure to
raise an objection to service issues at the trial level
precludes review of the issue on appeal. Blackerby v.
Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2009 Ark.App. 858, 373
S.W.3d 375. Kristin acknowledges that she failed to raise any
objection to service of process and participated in the
termination hearing through the full representation of her
attorney. Kristin's admitted failure to raise this issue
below therefore bars any review of this issue on appeal.
order terminating parental rights must be based on clear and
convincing evidence, Smithee v. Arkansas Department of
Human Services, 2015 Ark.App. 506, 471 S.W.3d 227, and
the circuit court's findings will not be reversed unless
they are clearly erroneous--when, although there is evidence
to support it, the reviewing court, on the entire evidence,
is left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake
has been made. Id; s ee also Strickland
v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 103 Ark.App. 193, 287
S.W.3d 633 (2008). The appellate courts review TPR orders de
novo. Samuels v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs.,
2014 Ark.App. 527, 443 S.W.3d 599.
Termination of parental rights is an extreme remedy and in
derogation of the natural rights of parents; however,
parental rights will not be enforced to the detriment or
destruction of the health and well-being of the child.
Smithee, supra. In order to terminate parental
rights, the circuit court must determine by clear and
convincing evidence that such termination is in the
child's best interest, including consideration of the
likelihood that the juvenile will be adopted and the
potential harm caused by returning custody of the child to
the parent. Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(A). One of
the statutory grounds for termination, found in Ark. Code
Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B), must also be proved by clear
and convincing evidence.
instant case, the circuit court granted ADHS's TPR
petition based on two grounds: subsequent factors, codified
at section 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(vii)(a), and aggravated
circumstances, codified at section 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(ix).
Kristin claims that the evidence supporting these two grounds
was insufficient and, thus, it was error for the circuit
court to base its termination order on either of these
grounds. The two grounds applicable are listed in section
9-27-341(b)(3)(B) as follows:
(vii)(a) That other factors or issues arose subsequent to the
filing of the original petition for dependency-neglect that
demonstrate that placement of the juvenile in the custody of
the parent is contrary to the juvenile's health, safety,
or welfare and that, despite the offer of appropriate family
services, the parent has manifested the incapacity or
indifference to remedy the subsequent issues or factors or
rehabilitate the parent's circumstances that prevent the
placement of the juvenile in the custody of the parent.
. . . .
(ix)(a) The parent is found by a court of competent