FROM THE GREENE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 28JV-09-214]
HONORABLE BARBARA HALSEY, JUDGE
Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant
Goff, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor children.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
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.
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,  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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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 ...