Amended March 11, 2016.
FROM THE RANDOLPH COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NO. JV-2014-37.
HONORABLE KEVIN N. KING, JUDGE.
& Richardson, P.L.L.C., by: Benjamin W. Bristow, for appellee
Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant
A. Sharum, County Legal Operations, for appellee.
Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad litem for
J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge. VIRDEN and GRUBER, JJ., agree.
J. GLADWIN, Chief Judge
termination-of-parental-rights case, both parents, in
separate briefs, appeal the Randolph County Circuit
Court's order of August 11, 2015, terminating their
parental rights and granting to appellee Arkansas Department
of Human Services (DHS) the power to consent to adoption.
Appellants Raymond Vail and Samanthia See both argue that
termination of their parental rights was not in the
child's best interest. Raymond also contends that the
trial court erred in determining that DHS proved a statutory
ground for terminating his parental rights. We affirm.
Statement of Facts and Procedural History
petition for emergency custody and dependency-neglect was
filed by DHS on April 7, 2014, alleging that Samanthia and
Raymond were the parents of S.S., born April 7, 2013;
Samanthia had custody; and Raymond was the legal/putative
father. The attached affidavit of the DHS caseworker stated
that a protective-services case had been opened on June 26,
2013, when Samanthia left S.S. alone for three hours and
failed a drug screen for THC by diluting the specimen with
hot water. The case was closed on November 7, 2013, after
services, including parenting classes, had been provided. An
emergency occurred on April 3, 2014, when Samanthia admitted
to not feeding S.S. until after 2:00 p.m., S.S. had a severe
diaper rash that had gone untreated, and Samanthia had her
roommate, Daniel Honeycutt, caring for S.S. Honeycutt had
threatened suicide days prior, and Samanthia had refused to
take a drug screen for DHS. A seventy-two-hour hold was taken
on S.S. due to the maltreatment and risk of serious harm.
probable-cause order was filed on April 8, 2014, finding
probable cause that the emergency conditions that
necessitated removal of custody from Samanthia continued and
that S.S. should remain in DHS custody. DHS was to develop an
appropriate case plan and provide services. The parents were
ordered to view " The Clock is Ticking" video;
attend and complete parenting classes; submit to random drug
screens, a drug-and-alcohol assessment, and a psychological
evaluation; obtain and maintain sufficient income to support
the family and safe, clean, and stable housing; permit DHS
access to their home; regularly
attend visits; notify DHS if transportation was needed; and
keep DHS informed of correct telephone numbers and addresses.
The order also stated that Raymond should establish
adjudication order was filed on May 20, 2014, and the circuit
court found that DHS had been involved with the family since
May 28, 2013, and services, including parenting classes, home
visits, and random drug screens had been provided. These
services did not prevent removal because an emergency
developed on April 3, 2014, as outlined above. The circuit
court found by a preponderance of the evidence that S.S. was
dependent-neglected due to Samanthia's environmental and
medical neglect. DHS remained the custodian, and the goal of
the case was reunification with a parent. The concurrent plan
was adoption/guardianship/permanent custody. All prior orders
remained in place.
review order was filed on September 30, 2014, and custody
remained with DHS. Raymond was adjudicated to be the father
of S.S., and the goal of reunification remained. The circuit
court found that Samanthia had been compliant in completing
parenting classes, viewing the video, and completing the
psychological and drug-and-alcohol assessments and outpatient
substance-abuse counseling. She had attended counseling at
Mid South, submitted to random drug screens, attended weekly
supervised visitations, and maintained a home. However,
Samanthia was not compliant in that she tested positive for
THC when she performed the drug-and-alcohol assessment; she
missed a visit on August 21, 2014; and she did not have
sufficient income. The circuit court noted that DHS reported
that Samanthia was inconsistent during visits in her concern
for S.S., her interaction with S.S., and her affection for
circuit court found that Raymond was compliant in completing
parenting classes, viewing the video, submitting to
drug-and-alcohol and psychological assessments, attending
visitation, maintaining income and a home, and submitting to
random drug screens. However, Raymond tested positive for THC
and opiates on August 12, 2014, and on September 11, 2014,
and he had not returned his home-study packet. He was often
late for ...