FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. JV15-266-3]
HONORABLE STACEY ZIMMERMAN, JUDGE.
Bowers Lee, Ark. Pub. Defender Comm'n, for appellant.
A. Sharum, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor child.
F. VIRDEN, Judge
Washington County Circuit Court terminated the parental
rights of appellant John Helvey to his daughter, A.H. (DOB:
11-9-2010). Helvey argues that there was insufficient
evidence of grounds to support the termination and that the
trial court erred in finding that termination was in
A.H.'s best interest because there was insufficient proof
of potential harm. We affirm.
Termination of Parental Rights
order forever terminating parental rights shall be based on a
finding by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the
best interest of the child, including consideration of the
likelihood that the child will be adopted if the termination
petition is granted and the potential harm, specifically
addressing the effect on the health and safety of the child,
caused by returning the child to the parent. Ark. Code Ann.
§ 9-27-341(b)(3)(A) (Repl. 2015).
trial court must also find by clear and convincing evidence
that one or more statutory grounds for termination exists.
Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B). Those grounds
(vii)(a) That other factors or issues arose
subsequent to the filing of the original petition for
dependency-neglect that demonstrate that return of the
juvenile to 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 return of the juvenile to the
custody of the parent. . . . .
(ix)(a) The parent is found by a court of competent
jurisdiction, including the juvenile division of circuit
court, to . . . have subjected any juvenile to aggravated
Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(vii)(a);
circumstances" means, among other things, that a
determination has been made by a judge that there is little
likelihood that services to the family will result in
successful reunification. Ark. Code Ann. §
March 25, 2015, the Arkansas Department of Human Services
(DHS) received a report that A.H.'s father had been
arrested for two counts of delivery of methamphetamine,
possession of drug paraphernalia, and endangering the welfare
of a minor in the second degree. The child was left with her paternal
grandmother, Lisa Marshall. Marshall appeared to be coherent
at the time; however, when DHS contacted Marshall on the
telephone, she rambled, and her speech was slurred. DHS
administered a drug test, and Marshall tested positive for
methamphetamine and THC. DHS placed a seventy-two-hour hold on A.H.
and filed a petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect, which was granted. The trial court
subsequently found probable cause to issue the ex parte
order, and A.H. was placed in the custody of her maternal
grandmother, Tammy Preston. The trial court ordered that there be no
contact between A.H. and Marshall.
May 22, 2015 order, A.H. was adjudicated dependent-neglected
as a result of neglect and parental unfitness. The trial
court noted that a protective-services case was first opened
on the family in December 2010 due to the parents' drug
use. A.H. was permitted to remain in her parents' custody
as long as Preston was living in the home. In September 2012,
A.H. was placed in foster care due to her parents'
continued drug use. Later, custody of the child was given to
Preston. In June 2014, A.H. was returned to Helvey's
custody and remained with him until his arrest in March 2015
for drug-related offenses.
28, 2015, DHS filed a motion to terminate reunification
services on the basis that Helvey had subjected A.H. to
aggravated circumstances. A hearing was held on July 10, 2015, to
discuss DHS's recommendation and for purposes of
permanency planning. In granting DHS's motion, the trial
court found that there was little likelihood that services
would result in successful reunification because Helvey had
not remedied his drug use despite numerous services; he was
incarcerated and facing new drug charges; and it was the
second time A.H. had been removed from his custody as a
result of his drug use. In the permanency-planning order, the
trial court noted that the goal was reunification but
established a concurrent goal of adoption. The trial court
specifically found that DHS had made reasonable efforts to