JACQUELINE R. MCLENNAN APPELLANT
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES and MINOR CHILDREN APPELLEES
FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TENTH DIVISION [NO.
60JN-15-762] HONORABLE JOYCE WILLIAMS WARREN, JUDGE.
Kimberly Eden, for appellant.
BRANDON J. HARRISON, JUDGE.
R. McLennan appeals the Pulaski County Circuit Court's
decision to terminate her parental rights to her children
A.R. and J.M. McLennan's counsel has filed a motion to
withdraw and a no-merit brief pursuant to our rules and
caselaw, stating that there are no meritorious grounds to
support an appeal. Ark. Sup. Ct. R. 6-9 (2016);
Linker-Flores v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 359
Ark. 131, 194 S.W.3d 739 (2004). Our court clerk mailed-by
restricted delivery, return receipt requested-a certified
copy of counsel's motion and brief to McLennan's
last-known address informing her of her right to file pro se
points for reversal. McLennan has not filed pro se points for
reversal, and the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)
has not filed a brief. We affirm the court's decision to
terminate McLennan's parental rights and grant
counsel's motion to withdraw.
and A.R. were adjudicated dependent-neglected after McLennan
failed to take reasonable action to protect A.R. from sexual
harm and J.M. from the risk of serious harm by sexual
exploitation. The court found that the DHS caseworker's
affidavit was correct and true that (a) A.R. reported that
her grandfather asked her to have sex with him, (b) A.R. had
no place to live, (c) McLennan was not adequately supervising
the children because she was on methamphetamine, and (d)
A.R.'s grandmother forced A.R. into prostitution, making
her to have sex with a man for money.
November 2015 review order, the circuit court found that DHS
had not made reasonable efforts to provide
family-reunification services and that it failed to provide a
foster youth transition plan for A.R., which is required by
statute. The court further found that McLennan had not
corrected the conditions which caused the juveniles'
removal and that she tested positive for THC, opiates,
amphetamines, PCP, and benzodiazepines.
February 2016, the court found that McLennan had partially
complied with the case plan, that she was making slow
progress, and that DHS was making reasonable efforts. The
court entered a permanency-planning order in June 2016 and
changed the case-plan goal to adoption. The court noted that
A.R. had a verbal altercation with her foster parents and was
placed in an emergency shelter that was not an appropriate
placement for her. J.M. was doing well. The court found that
McLennan's compliance with the case plan was minimal and
that she had not completed her psychological examination,
individual counseling, or drug-and-alcohol assessment. As for
DHS, the court found that it had less than partial compliance
with the case plan and court orders. It found that there was
no evidence that DHS had provided all the necessary education
services for A.R. and that it did not notify the court that
A.R. had been moved from the foster home to South Arkansas
than a week later, DHS filed a petition for termination of
parental rights. Three grounds were alleged against McLennan:
(1) twelve-month, failure-to-remedy ground; (2) other factors
arising; and (3) aggravated circumstances. See Ark.
Code Ann. §§ 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(i)(a),
Parker, the DHS caseworker, testified that McLennan should
have known her children were at risk for sexual exploitation
because her parents (A.R. and J.M.'s grandparents)
sexually exploited her when she was a child. She also said
that McLennan did not complete the court-ordered
psychological evaluation and was dropped from individual
counseling for nonattendance and noncompliance. She said that
continuing services would not likely result in reunification
between the McLennan and her children because she had not
taken advantage of any services thus far. On
cross-examination, Parker said that DHS had provided McLennan
with a bus pass and that she had a job at the Little Rock
Zoo. Later, she testified that she did not think it was
possible for McLennan to comply with the case plan even if
she was given more time and that the children had been out of
McLennan's custody almost fifteen months. And she
explained that McLennan had not completed individual
counseling, which would teach her ways to protect her
children and think about who she lets watch them.
Adoption Specialist Jessica Warren testified that the
juveniles are adoptable and that the department had
identified 53 families "for them together."
then made a general directed-verdict motion, which the court
part, McLennan testified that she had four or five
caseworkers throughout the case and that she went to a
drug-and-alcohol assessment in July. She said that she had
provided for her children since birth, that she had let her
grandmother watch the kids, and that "it just happened
that my mother pops up at my grandmother's house"
when the event occurred. On cross-examination, she testified
that she learned things about the case through A.R. and that
"no one would call me or tell my anything" and that
if she had more time she could complete ...