FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66JV-15-249] HONORABLE JIM D. SPEARS, JUDGE
Bowers Lee, 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.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Angela Greenhill appeals a Sebastian County Circuit Court
order terminating her parental rights to her son, D.N. More
specifically, she challenges both the trial court's
findings of statutory grounds and its best-interest
determination. We affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
March 2015, Greenhill presented herself at Mercy Hospital for
a suspected miscarriage. Greenhill brought D.N. to the
hospital with her. As Greenhill and D.N. sat in the waiting
room, Greenhill repeatedly fell asleep, resulting in
D.N.'s being left unsupervised. Due to Greenhill's
lack of supervision, another patient began taking care of the
child. The other patient, who was there for a psychiatric
evaluation, subsequently took D.N. with her to an exam room,
making it necessary for security to retrieve him. Greenhill
was asleep during the entire encounter. Eventually, Greenhill
was admitted to a room where she continued to be inattentive
to D.N. She subsequently tested positive for benzodiazepines
and opiates. Based upon this, the hospital notified the
Department of Human Services (DHS) that Greenhill was
impaired and that there were concerns regarding her ability
to adequately supervise D.N. Greenhill then attempted to
leave the hospital without notifying hospital staff. She was
found in the hospital parking lot attempting to leave. Once
again, she was not adequately supervising D.N. and was not
aware that he had almost walked into traffic. Greenhill was
arrested on outstanding warrants and for child endangerment.
Upon Greenhill's arrest, DHS took D.N. into protective
care and filed a dependency-neglect action with the circuit
18, 2015, the court adjudicated D.N. dependent-neglected due
to inadequate supervision. The court specifically found that
Greenhill had been under the influence of prescription
medication and had been impaired to the point that she had
been unable to properly supervise D.N. The trial court set
the goal of the case as reunification, ordered that DHS
provide services to Greenhill, and directed that Greenhill
comply with the orders of the court. Specifically, Greenhill
was ordered to obtain and maintain stable and appropriate
housing, income, and transportation; to complete parenting
classes and visit regularly; to submit to random drug screens
and hair-follicle testing at the request of DHS; to attend
counseling until released and to take medication only as
prescribed; and to complete a drug-and-alcohol assessment.
court monitored Greenhill's compliance at review hearings
throughout the proceedings. Initially, Greenhill followed the
case plan in the areas of employment, transportation,
visitation, parenting classes, counseling, and
drug-and-alcohol assessment. Additionally, she tested
negative on her random drug screenings. In fact,
Greenhill's compliance was sufficient to allow a trial
placement to occur.
Greenhill initially followed the case plan, she eventually
fell out of compliance, and the trial placement was
terminated. At the February 1, 2016 permanency-planning
hearing, the court noted several areas of noncompliance.
Greenhill lost her job and was not upfront with caseworkers
as to when or why she was terminated; she was late on her
rent and was relying on her boyfriend for financial
assistance; she had not been to her court-ordered drug
counseling for several months; and she had been seen at the
emergency room on several occasions seeking prescription
drugs for unnecessary reasons.
Greenhill's noncompliance continued its downward spiral.
At a review hearing held on April 4, 2016, the trial court
found that Greenhill had been involved in two domestic
disputes-one involving her boyfriend; that she had failed to
disclose ongoing domestic violence in her relationship with
her boyfriend; that D.N. had witnessed the domestic violence
between Greenhill and her boyfriend; and that D.N.'s
behavior had deteriorated while he was in Greenhill's
care. The court further found that Greenhill had tested
positive for methamphetamine even though she denied the use.
Based on this noncompliance, the trial court changed the goal
of the plan to adoption and termination of parental rights.
filed a petition for the termination of parental rights on
May 25, 2016. DHS alleged the following grounds for
termination: (1) twelve months out of care with failure to
remedy; (2) subsequent other factors warranted termination,
and (3) aggravating circumstances (i.e., that there was
little likelihood that services to the family would result in
reunification). After a hearing on the petition to terminate,
the court entered an order terminating Greenhill's
parental rights on all three grounds alleged in the petition.
The court further found that D.N. was adoptable and that
potential harm existed if he were returned to Greenhill's
custody; thus, termination was in D.N.'s best interest.
Greenhill appeals this determination, challenging the grounds
for termination as well as the court's best-interest