FROM THE JOHNSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. JV-2013-106]
HONORABLE KEN D. COKER, JR., JUDGE
Bowers Lee, Ark. Pub. Defender Comm'n, for appellant.
Firth, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor children.
Joshua Yarbrough appeals from the order of the Johnson County
Circuit Court terminating his parental rights to his three
children, N.Y. (DOB 8/9/09), D.Y. (DOB 03/21/11), and J.Y.
(DOB 04/17/13). On appeal, Joshua challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence to support the termination,
arguing that there was no evidence that the Arkansas
Department of Human Services (DHS) offered appropriate family
services in a timely fashion. We affirm.
facts giving rise to this case began on November 20, 2013,
when DHS received a call from N.Y.'s daycare center with
concerns that the child's mother, Candace Yarbrough, was
under the influence of an unknown substance. Candace admitted
that she would fail a drug test, and DHS placed a
seventy-two-hour hold on the children. Both Candace and
Joshua tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine,
marijuana, and opiates. DHS filed a petition for emergency
custody on November 22, 2013.
order for emergency custody was entered by the circuit court
on November 22, 2013, and a probable-cause order was entered
on December 17, 2013. The circuit court ordered Joshua to
undergo random drug testing, obtain a drug-and-alcohol
assessment and complete all recommendations, attend and
complete parenting classes, and obtain and maintain stable
housing and employment. Supervised visitation was awarded
contingent upon the parents' negative drug screens.
adjudication hearing was held on January 7, 2014, and the
circuit court found that the children were
dependent-neglected based on inadequate supervision due to
the Yarbroughs' drug use. The goal of the case was set as
reunification with the parents. At a review hearing in March
2014, Joshua was ordered to attend inpatient drug treatment,
and the Yarbroughs were ordered to attend marriage
a June 2014 review hearing, a trial home visit with the
children was authorized, and custody was then returned to the
Yarbroughs at the August 2014 review hearing. Both parents
were ordered to submit to homemaker services. On September
15, 2014, DHS filed an ex parte motion for an emergency
change of custody, alleging that Candace was suffering from a
delusional mental state, that Joshua was not concerned about
her mental state, and that he was unable to ensure the health
and safety of the children. An order granting an emergency
change of custody was entered the same day; however, the
circuit court returned the children at the probable-cause
hearing on October 7, 2014, finding that the emergency
conditions necessitating removal no longer existed.
children were again removed from the Yarbroughs' custody
at the next review hearing on December 16, 2014, because they
had both failed hair-follicle drug tests and would not allow
DHS into their home. Joshua was ordered to attend and
successfully complete outpatient drug treatment.
permanency-planning hearing was held in March 2015, and the
circuit court continued the goal of reunification with the
parents, because it found that DHS had not provided
outpatient drug treatment to Joshua as it had previously been
ordered to do. The court stated that the issue of reasonable
efforts by DHS would be taken under advisement and would be
addressed at the next hearing.
next review hearing in September 2015, the circuit court
found that DHS had made reasonable efforts to provide
services to the Yarbroughs to achieve the goal of
reunification. The court noted that Joshua was now
incarcerated and ordered that he take advantage of the
services offered while he was in prison, including
substance-abuse treatment. A second permanency-planning order
was entered on November 3, 2015, and the goal of the case was
changed to adoption, with DHS being authorized to proceed
with termination of parental rights. The circuit court again
noted in that order that the issue of reasonable efforts by
DHS would be taken under advisement and addressed at the next
petition for termination of parental rights was filed on
November 17, 2015. DHS alleged several grounds for
termination, including the failure-to-remedy ground found in
Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(i)(a) (Repl.
2015) and the subsequent-factors ground found in Ark. Code
Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(vii). The petition further
alleged that termination was in the children's best
termination hearing was held on February 2, 2016. At the
hearing, Susan Geels, the caseworker assigned to the family,
testified that DHS had provided services to the parents to
accomplish the goal of reunification. Geels stated that
Joshua had completed parenting classes and inpatient drug
treatment in May 2014. However, he then failed his
hair-follicle drug test in November 2014 and was ordered to
complete outpatient drug treatment, which he had not done.
Geels stated that Joshua had moved out of the family home in
January 2015 and that he had relocated first to Ozark,
Arkansas, and then to Missouri. She indicated that he had not
maintained a stable home during that time and that he had
been convicted of delivery of methamphetamine in August 2015.
Geels testified that Joshua was currently in a prison boot
camp while incarcerated and that he had obtained his GED and
had completed a substance-abuse program. She stated that his
release date was in June 2016. According to Geels, DHS
believed that ...