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Holloway v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

May 3, 2017

ROBIN HOLLOWAY AND CHRISTOPHER BRITT APPELLANTS
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND MINOR CHILDREN APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM THE GREENE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 28JV-09-214] HONORABLE BARBARA HALSEY, JUDGE

          Leah Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant Robin Holloway.

          Mary Goff, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.

          Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad litem for minor children.

          RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE

         Robin Holloway and Christopher Britt appeal the Greene County Circuit Court order terminating their parental rights to their five children, L.B. (6/17/03), R.B. (4/15/05), M.B. (9/17/06), C.B. (10/3/07), and Z.B. (12/13/08). They argue that the circuit court erred in finding that it was in the best interest of the children for their parental rights to be terminated. We affirm.

         On April 23, 2014, the Arkansas Department of Human Services ("DHS") filed a petition for an ex parte order of emergency protection of L.B., R.B., M.B., C.B., and Z.B. In the affidavit attached to the petition, DHS stated that it had received multiple hotline reports concerning Holloway and Britt dating back to 2002, [1] which included allegations of sexual abuse, physical abuse, inadequate supervision, and environmental neglect. DHS further stated that Britt and Holloway had joint custody of the children and that Holloway was dating Nathan Warren, a level III sex offender. DHS proposed that Britt should have custody of the children and that Holloway should have only supervised visitation. On the same day the petition was filed, the circuit court entered an order granting the petition. On April 29, 2014, the court found probable cause for the emergency order.

         On May 28, 2014, DHS filed a petition for emergency custody and dependency-neglect, and the circuit court granted the petition that same day. In the affidavit attached to the petition, DHS alleged that Britt had been unable to meet the children's needs; that Holloway had unauthorized visitation with the children; and that the children had been threatened not to tell the truth to their counselors, teachers, and DHS workers. On June 1, 2014, the court held a probable-cause hearing, and on July 1, 2014, the court entered a probable-cause order.

         On September 9, 2014, the circuit court held a dependency-neglect hearing, and on February 13, 2015, the court entered an order adjudicating the children dependent-neglected. On July 1, 2016, DHS filed a petition for termination of Holloway's and Britt's parental rights.

         On August 19, 2016, the court held a termination hearing. At the hearing, Britt testified that he did not believe L.B., R.B., or M.B. were adoptable because of their medical and aggression issues. Holloway testified that she did not believe her children were adoptable because of their emotional and behavioral issues.

         Holly Johnson, a Greene County family-service worker, testified on behalf of DHS and stated that she had been assigned to the case since January 25, 2016. She believed that the children could be successful in a loving and caring adoptive home but that DHS had been unable to initiate trial placements. She noted that the children had been placed in different homes since they had been removed from their parents' custody, and she further discussed the children's behavioral and development problems.

         She stated that L.B. is in the eighth grade and that he is a very sweet child but that he has severe anger outbursts. She explained that during the outbursts, he frequently destroys items such as his eyeglasses and electronic tablets. She believed L.B. is adoptable but noted that his current foster home did not want to adopt him. She further noted that he had been placed in a therapeutic foster home and that he is receiving therapy there. She also stated that he enjoys playing on a soccer team. On cross-examination, Johnson testified that L.B. had been moved to multiple foster homes as result of his anger issues and that his anger issues are a hurdle to adoption.

         Johnson testified that R.B. is in the sixth grade and that she is adoptable. She stated that she is in a group-home placement and that she receives therapy there. She also noted that she had been participating in extracurricular activities such as horseback riding and that she is learning patience through caring for the horses. On cross-examination, Johnson testified that R.B. suffers from ADHD and that she has trouble following instructions but that she had not received any recent reports of bad behavior. She stated that R.B.'s group-home parent had verbally expressed interest in adopting her.

         Johnson testified that M.B. is in fourth grade and that she is adoptable. She noted that over the summer she had traveled with her foster family and had behaved well on the trips. On cross-examination, she testified that M.B. also has anger outbursts and had tried to physically harm her foster parent. She explained that M.B. and C.B. had initially been placed in the same home, but they had to be separated because they had disagreements that ...


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