FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66JV-14-714] HONORABLE LEIGH ZUERKER, 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 children.
F. VIRDEN, Judge
Sebastian County Circuit Court terminated the parental rights
of appellant Angel Sims Duncan to her two children, N.D.
(DOB: 9-23-2014) and Z.D. (DOB: 12-23-2015). Duncan
challenges the statutory grounds supporting termination and
the trial court's best-interest finding. We affirm.
December 17, 2014, the Arkansas Department of Human Services
(DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect as to N.D. In an affidavit attached to the
petition, family service worker Courtnee Boerjan attested
that a protective-services case had been opened when N.D.
tested positive for THC at the time of her birth. Duncan
initially tested positive for only THC,  but subsequent tests were positive for
other illicit drugs, including amphetamines, methamphetamine,
and phencyclidine (PCP). An ex parte order for emergency
custody was entered, and the trial court later found that
probable cause existed for issuance of the emergency order.
adjudication order entered April 24, 2015, the trial court
found that N.D. was dependent-neglected due to Duncan's
drug abuse. The goal was reunification, and the trial court
ordered Duncan to comply with several conditions, including
recommended drug treatment. In a review order dated September
11, 2015, the trial court found that Duncan was in her third
drug-treatment program and had only four negative drug
screens since the case was opened. The trial court also noted
that Duncan was pregnant and due to give birth in December
Z.D. was born, DHS took a seventy-two-hour hold on him. On
December 29, 2015, DHS filed a petition for emergency custody
and dependency-neglect as to Z.D. In an affidavit attached to
the petition, family service worker Natosha Mantooth attested
that Duncan had tested positive for methamphetamine while in
residential treatment on September 23, 2015, and that Duncan
reported that she had relapsed in November 2015 while
pregnant by taking Xanax not prescribed to her. An ex parte
emergency custody order was entered. The trial court
subsequently found probable cause for issuance of the order.
January 7, 2016, the trial court entered a
permanency-planning order pertaining to N.D. The trial court
found that DHS had made reasonable efforts to provide family
services to achieve the goal of reunification. The trial
court noted that Duncan had complied with several case-plan
goals and court orders. She was further ordered, among other
things, to submit to random drug screens and hair-follicle
tests, complete drug treatment, and attend
Narcotics/Alcoholics Anonymous (NA/AA) meetings at least
twice per week.
April 7, 2016, Z.D. was adjudicated dependent-neglected due
to Duncan's stipulation of parental unfitness and
inadequate supervision due to her substance-abuse issues. A
fifteen-month review order was entered the same day
indicating that Duncan had only partially complied with the
case plan. She was again ordered to complete a
drug-and-alcohol assessment and follow the recommendations.
filed a petition for termination of parental rights on May
23, 2016, alleging grounds under Ark. Code Ann. §
9-27-341(b)(3)(B) (Supp. 2015), including (i)(a)
(twelvemonth/failure to remedy), (ii)(a) (failure to
provide significant material support), (vii)(a)
(other subsequent factors or issues), and (ix)
(a)(3) (aggravated circumstances). A hearing on
DHS's petition was held July 8, 2016.