FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66JV-15-134] HONORABLE LEIGH ZUERKER, 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.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge
Jessica Campbell appeals from the termination of her parental
rights to her eight-year-old son, A.F. Jessica's counsel has filed a no-merit
brief and a motion to withdraw, stating that this appeal is
without merit and that she should be relieved of counsel. We
affirm and grant appellant's counsel's motion to be
compliance with Linker-Flores v. Arkansas Department of
Human Services, 359 Ark. 131, 194 S.W.3d 739 (2004), and
Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 6-9(i), Jessica's counsel has
examined the record for adverse rulings, explaining why each
adverse ruling would not support a meritorious ground for
reversal. Jessica's counsel has accurately asserted that
the only adverse ruling was the termination itself. A copy of
Jessica's counsel's brief and motion to withdraw were
mailed to Jessica, along with information advising her of her
right to file pro se points within thirty days. Jessica
failed to file her pro se points by the deadline specified in
our rules; therefore, her pro se points are untimely and not
properly before us for review. Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 6-9(i)(3);
Everett v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2016
Ark.App. 541___ S.W.3d___.
review termination of parental rights cases de novo.
Dinkins v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 344 Ark.
207, 40 S.W.3d 286 (2001). At least one statutory ground must
exist, in addition to a finding that it is in the child's
best interest to terminate parental rights; these must be
proved by clear and convincing evidence. Ark. Code Ann.
§ 9-27-341(b)(3) (Repl. 2015); Mitchell v. Ark.
Dep't of Human Servs., 2013 Ark.App. 715, 430 S.W.3d
851. Clear and convincing evidence is that degree of proof
that will produce in the fact-finder a firm conviction as to
the allegation sought to be established. Anderson v.
Douglas, 310 Ark. 633, 839 S.W.2d 196 (1992). The
appellate inquiry is whether the trial court's finding
that the disputed fact was proved by clear and convincing
evidence is clearly erroneous. J.T. v. Ark. Dep't of
Human Servs., 329 Ark. 243, 947 S.W.2d 761 (1997). A
finding is clearly erroneous when, although there is evidence
to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is
left with a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has
been made. Yarborough v. Ark. Dep't of Human
Servs., 96 Ark.App. 247, 240 S.W.3d 626 (2006).
March 4, 2015, appellee Arkansas Department of Human Services
(DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody of A.F. Attached
to the petition was an affidavit of a DHS caseworker stating
that A.F. had been living with Jessica and that A.F.'s
father was in prison. DHS had taken an emergency hold of A.F.
due to Jessica's arrest for possession of methamphetamine
with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia with
intent to ingest methamphetamine, simultaneous possession of
drugs and firearms, and second-degree child endangerment.
There had been drug use in the home and prior controlled buys
of methamphetamine. When the police executed the search
warrant, A.F. was on the couch and Jessica was hiding in a
closet. After being arrested, Jessica tested positive for
methamphetamine. On the same day the petition was filed, the
trial court entered an ex parte order for emergency DHS
custody. A probable-cause order was subsequently entered on
March 12, 2015.
April 24, 2015, the trial court entered an adjudication order
finding A.F. to be dependent-neglected and setting the case
goal as reunification. The parties stipulated to
dependency-neglect based on Jessica's neglect and
parental unfitness. The adjudication order stated that
Jessica had admitted using methamphetamine while serving as
the child's sole caregiver, and that Jessica's acts
and omissions placed the child at a substantial risk of
serious harm. Jessica was ordered to maintain stable housing,
income, and transportation, complete parenting classes,
complete a drug-and-alcohol assessment and all recommended
treatments, resolve her criminal issues, submit to drug
tests, and visit the child regularly.
review order was entered on September 17, 2015, wherein the
trial court found that Jessica was in only partial compliance
with the case plan and had recently tested positive for
methamphetamine. On March 14, 2016, the trial court entered a
permanency-planning order changing the case goal to
termination of parental rights and adoption. In the
permanency-planning order, the trial court found that DHS had
made reasonable efforts to provide family services to achieve
the previous goal of reunification and had complied with the
case plan and orders of the court. The trial court found that
Jessica had completed parenting classes, but had no stable or
appropriate housing, no income, and no reliable
transportation. The trial court further found that Jessica
had failed to complete a drug-and-alcohol assessment and had
canceled numerous visits due to inadequate transportation.
filed a petition to terminate Jessica's parental rights
on March 14, 2016. The termination hearing was held on June
5, 2016, the trial court entered an order terminating
Jessica's parental rights. The trial court found by clear
and convincing evidence that termination of parental rights
was in A.F.'s best interest, and the court specifically
considered the likelihood of adoption, as well as the
potential harm of returning the child to the custody of his
mother as required by Arkansas Code Annotated section
9-27-341(b)(3)(A). The ...