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Robinson v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

April 13, 2016

CIERA ROBINSON, APPELLANT
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND MINOR CHILDREN, APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM THE CONWAY COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. JV-14-01. HONORABLE TERRY SULLIVAN, JUDGE.

         For Appellant: Leah Beth Lanford.

         For Appellee: Mischa Kay Martin, Keith L. Chrestman.

         BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge. GLADWIN, C.J., and WHITEAKER, J., agree.

          OPINION

          BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge

         Ciera Robinson appeals the Conway County Circuit Court's termination of her parental rights to her children D.D. and S.D. She argues that termination was not in her children's best interest and that it does not fulfill the purpose of termination under Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(a)(3) (Repl. 2015). We affirm.

         I. Facts

         The case began on 1 January 2014 when Robinson called the police to report that Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr., a celebrity, raped her in her sleep and was punishing her and other women. She also said, among other things, that she and Bobby Ray had a child together named Elijah but he was not born yet. She told the police that she had thought about ending her life. After police officers arrested Robinson for marijuana possession, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) took emergency custody of D.D. and S.D. because the children lacked a caregiver. Robinson told the caseworkers that the children's father, Montana Dean, lived in Ohio and that she had obtained a protection order against Dean for allegedly molesting D.D. and S.D.

         The circuit court adjudicated the children dependent-neglected in February 2014. Robinson was not present for the adjudication hearing. Robinson was present for a May 2014 review hearing. In the May review order, the circuit court wrote: " The court agreed to change the goal today based upon the testimony presented and the fact that mom has not complied since the children were removed on 1/1." The " concurrent plan of this case shall continue to be reunification. The goal is adoption or placement with a legal guardian/permanent custody." The court noted that Robinson had not visited the children since February and also observed:

Ciera does not have an identification card. Ciera testified she is homeless and has been kicked out of shelters because Nicki Manaj [sic] is trying to kill her. She was in a mental hospital in Ohio. Admits she is bipolar and sees spirits.
The father, Montana Dean, is not part of the case and has no significant contacts with his children.

         In October 2014 the court entered an order terminating DHS's obligation to provide reunification services to Robinson. The court noted the testimony of the children's father, Montana Dean, that " Ciera sees spirits and has sudden mood swings," that they fought in the past, and that he was convicted of domestic abuse against her. According to Dean, Robinson left Ohio and did not contact him to tell him where the children were, and he recently found out the children were in DHS custody and came down for the hearing. The court wrote:

The Court found specifically that there is little likelihood that services will result in reunification due to the mother's mental instability in continuing to believe that nationally-known entertainers are trying to get her and rape her and that she is off her medication and believes that she does not need any. She has been without stable housing for most of the case and has been discharged from multiple shelters and spent two months in jail. She has had district court criminal cases in three separate counties since the case opened. The Court noted the therapist's statement that when the children are permanently placed somewhere, they will need long-term, intensive care with structure and stability and the Court believes Ciera cannot provide this. The Court also found that [the] children were subjected to aggravated circumstances due to abandonment. Ciera abandoned her children since the case has been opened for ten months and she has not visited her children since February and up until very recently, she made no attempts to reunify with them.

         In short, the circuit court found that there was little likelihood that services would result in reunification and ...


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