FROM THE CLEBURNE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 12JV-15-13]
HONORABLE LEE WISDOM HARROD, JUDGE AFFIRMED
D. Watson, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brett D. Watson, for
Goff, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor child.
F. VIRDEN, Judge
Cleburne County Circuit Court terminated the parental rights
of appellant Rebecca Ladd (now Pompa) to her daughter, H.H.
(DOB: 12/27/2008). On appeal, Pompa argues that the trial
court erred (1) in terminating her parental rights because
the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) failed to
prove grounds and (2) in terminating reunification services.
She does not challenge the trial court's best-interest
determination. We affirm.
January 23, 2015, DHS filed a petition for emergency custody
and dependency-neglect concerning H.H. based on parental
unfitness due to continued drug use by Pompa. Attached to the
petition was the affidavit of DHS family-service worker, John
Seward. He attested that on January 7, 2015, Pompa tested
positive for methamphetamine and THC.Because H.H.'s maternal
grandmother lived in the home and had agreed to provide care
and supervision for H.H., DHS requested a
"less-than-custody" order prohibiting Pompa from
using illegal drugs. In the affidavit, Seward attested that
DHS's first contact with the family was on February 2,
2010, with a true finding for neglect and failure to protect
H.H.; however, the case was closed when the parents moved to
New Mexico. He stated that on March 25, 2011, H.H. first came
into foster care in Arkansas because of inadequate
supervision due to the parents' drug use but that H.H.
was returned to Pompa's custody on August 22, 2012.
Seward said that on January 4, 2013, H.H. came into foster
care again due to Pompa's inadequate supervision by
permitting Hussman, whom she knew to be using
methamphetamine, to care for H.H. on several occasions. On
June 6, 2014, H.H. was returned to Pompa's custody;
however, DHS continued to monitor the family. Seward stated
that, during that time, Pompa tested positive for THC several
times, so DHS made a referral for outpatient drug treatment.
Pompa attended a couple of sessions and then began missing
trial court issued an ex parte order prohibiting Pompa from
using illegal drugs and warning her that she risked having
H.H. placed in DHS's custody if she continued her drug
use. Pompa stipulated that probable cause existed for the
emergency order and agreed to the protection plan involving
supervision of H.H. by Pompa's mother, Ruth
Towell-Wright. An adjudication hearing was scheduled for
February 18, 2015.
February 3, 2015, DHS filed another petition for emergency
custody and dependency-neglect concerning H.H. on the basis
that Pompa had continued to use illegal drugs. In an
affidavit attached to the petition, DHS family-service-worker
supervisor, Johnelle Switzer, attested that on February 1,
2015, DHS was contacted by the police because someone in the
community had seen Pompa parked at an apartment smoking drugs
from a glass pipe. Pompa was stopped by the police, and she
admitted having used methamphetamine the previous day. On
February 2, 2015, Pompa was ordered to submit to a drug test.
She could not produce a sample but admitted that she had used
methamphetamine. Pompa also admitted having taken H.H. to
live with Amy Armstrong in Little Rock in an effort to keep
the child out of foster care. DHS took a seventy-two-hour
hold on H.H. In an adjudication order entered February 27,
2015, Pompa stipulated to the dependency-neglect finding
based on parental unfitness due to continued drug use. An ex
parte order for emergency custody issued, making a second
probable-cause hearing necessary. The trial court found that
probable cause existed for H.H. to remain in DHS's
custody and that DHS had provided reasonable services,
including drug screens and referrals for drug treatment.
April 13, 2015, DHS filed a motion to terminate reunification
services, alleging that H.H. had been subjected to aggravated
circumstances, specifically, that there was little likelihood
that additional services would result in successful
reunification. DHS alleged that it had been involved with the
family since March 2011, that H.H. had been taken into foster
care three times due to illegal drug use by her parents, that
extensive services had been offered, and that continued
services would not likely result in permanent reunification
due to the parents' continued drug use, noncompliance,
and lack of stable living conditions.
14, 2015, a review order was entered. The trial court noted
that DHS had requested not to proceed yet on its motion to
terminate reunification services. The court stated that the
goal continued to be reunification and found that DHS had
made reasonable efforts to achieve that goal by offering,
among other things, drug screening, referrals for drug
treatment, drug assessments, mental-health counseling, family
counseling, parenting classes, home visits, and
transportation. The trial court found that Pompa was not in
compliance with the case plan and ordered her to submit to
and complete inpatient drug treatment.
filed a petition for termination of both Pompa's and
Hussman's parental rights on July 15, 2015, alleging
grounds under Ark. Code Ann. §
9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(i)(a) (twelvemonth failure to
remedy), (ii)(a) (failure to provide significant
material support and maintain meaningful contact), (iv)
(abandonment by Pompa's willingness to consent to the
adoption of H.H. if she could choose the adoptive parents),
(vii)(a) (other subsequent factors), and
(ix)(a) (aggravated circumstances in that there was
little likelihood of successful reunification). A hearing was
held on October 28 and continued on October 30, 2015.