FROM THE MADISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. JV 2015-005-3],
HONORABLE STACEY ZIMMERMAN, JUDGE
Tabitha McNulty, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for
Firth, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor child.
Harrison and Kinard, JJ., agree.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Lansdell appeals from the permanency-planning order placing
permanent custody of her daughter, T.M., with the child's
paternal grandparents and awarding Nikki visitation. On
appeal, Nikki argues that the evidence is insufficient to
support the circuit court's decision to not apply
statutory permanency-planning goal one, two, or three from
Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-27-338 (Repl. 2015). We
February 8, 2015, the Arkansas Department of Human Services
("DHS") exercised an emergency hold over T.M. after
Nikki had been arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia
with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine, use of a
communication device to facilitate drug activity, criminal
use of property, and unlawful entry of contaminated
property. The charges were related to
an active meth lab at Nikki's residence. Nikki lived in
the residence with her husband, Vaughn Lansdell, and T.M. At
the time of her arrest, Nikki tested positive for
methamphetamine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, opiates,
oxycodone, and marijuana. T.M.'s father, Matthew McCoy,
had supervised visitation with T.M. pursuant to a divorce
February 13, 2015, the court found probable cause for the
emergency custody as a result of Nikki's drug use, her
criminal charges, and the domestic violence in the home. The
court noted that Nikki was in jail. Upon her release, the
court ordered her to participate in individual counseling;
refrain from using drugs and alcohol; submit to a
drug-and-alcohol assessment; follow the recommendation from
the assessment; submit to weekly random drug screens; obtain
and maintain stable housing and employment; resolve all
criminal charges; and demonstrate the ability to protect T.M.
and keep her safe from harm. As a result of the domestic
violence, the court also ordered that Vaughn have no contact
with T.M. The court placed T.M. with her paternal
grandparents, Theresa and Mike McCoy.
March 6, 2015, the court adjudicated T.M.
dependent-neglected. The court noted that Nikki remained in
jail but continued its orders from the probable-cause
hearing. The court also set the goal of the case as
reunification and ordered that Nikki have supervised
visitation with T.M. upon her release from jail.
31, 2015, the court held a review hearing. The court found
that Nikki was in partial compliance with the case.
Specifically, the court found that she had not maintained
contact with DHS or obtained stable housing. The court
further noted that Nikki's criminal charges were still
pending. The court found that Nikki had completed the
drug-and-alcohol assessment, had taken parenting classes, and
had attended two counseling sessions. The court authorized
Vaughn to participate in counseling with T.M. upon approval
by the counselor.
November 6, 2015, the court held a permanency-planning
hearing. At the hearing, Antoinette Johnson, the DHS
caseworker, recommended that the court permanently place T.M.
with her paternal grandparents, Theresa and Mike McCoy.
Johnson testified that T.M. was doing well in the McCoys'
home, and she questioned Nikki's stability. She
recognized that Nikki had an apartment in Fayetteville with
her husband Vaughn but feared the residence was only
temporary. She explained that Nikki had moved from residence
to residence in the past and that her criminal charges were
still pending. She also voiced concerns about T.M.'s
emotional state and noted that Vaughn had an extensive
criminal history that included violent crimes and pending
McCoy testified that T.M. had acclimated well to her home and
that she wanted T.M. to remain there. She noted that T.M. has
glaucoma and that she puts eye drops in every night. She
explained that T.M. had an appointment with a pediatric
ophthalmologist in Little Rock in February to better diagnose
the problem. She testified that she had been supervising
T.M.'s visits with Nikki and that the visits had gone
well. She discussed one occasion where Nikki and her
ex-husband had a verbal altercation,  but she noted that Nikki had been
appropriate in T.M.'s presence. Matthew McCoy, T.M.'s
father, testified that he wanted his daughter to live with
testified that she wanted T.M. to return to her home. She
denied that Vaughn had a history of violence and further
denied that he had pending criminal charges. She stated that
he was on probation for a drug-paraphernalia charge. She
stated that T.M. is not afraid of Vaughn and that T.M. wanted
to see him. Nikki testified that she is participating in the
drug-court program for the charges that led to T.M.'s