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Rosenbaum v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

December 13, 2017

DUSTIN ROSENBAUM APPELLANT
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND MINOR CHILD APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM THE SHARP COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 68JV-15-135] HONORABLE KEVIN KING, JUDGE AFFIRMED

          Lightle, Raney, Streit & Streit, LLP, by: Jonathan R. Streit, for appellant.

          Mary Goff, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.

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

          Murphy and Brown, JJ., agree.

          RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE

         Dustin Rosenbaum appeals the Sharp County Circuit Court order terminating his parental rights to his child, L.A. On appeal, Rosenbaum argues that the circuit court erred in terminating his parental rights because there was an available and appropriate relative placement with his mother, Raven Traman. We affirm.

         On September 5, 2015, L.A. was born while his mother, Alisa Allard, [1] was incarcerated in the Southeast Community Correction Center. The Arkansas Department of Human Services ("DHS") placed a seventy-two-hour hold on L.A., and on September 11, 2015, DHS filed a petition for emergency custody and dependency-neglect. The petition listed Rosenbaum and James Meeks as the putative fathers. On that same day, the circuit court entered an ex parte order for emergency custody. On September 15, 2015, the circuit court found probable cause for the emergency custody.

         On October 6, 2015, the circuit court adjudicated L.A. dependent-neglected due to Allard being incarcerated at L.A.'s birth and also because Allard's other children had been adjudicated dependent-neglected. In the adjudication order, the court adjudicated Rosenbaum as the legal father pursuant to DNA testing results. The court ordered Rosenbaum to comply with the case plan, contact the DHS caseworker weekly, watch "The Clock is Ticking" video, participate in and complete parenting classes, obtain and maintain appropriate housing and employment, submit to random drug screens, and submit to a psychological evaluation.

         On December 1, 2015, the court held a review hearing. The court found that Rosenbaum was in partial compliance with the case plan because he had watched "The Clock is Ticking" video and completed his psychological evaluation. However, he had not completed parenting classes or a drug assessment.

         Further, on December 1, 2015, L.A.'s foster parents filed a motion to intervene and to consolidate cases. They informed the court that they had filed a petition for adoption of L.A. in the probate division of the circuit court on that day, and they asked the court to consolidate the cases. The circuit court set a hearing on the motion to intervene for February 9, 2016. On January 8, 2016, Rosenbaum's mother, Raven Traman, also filed a motion to intervene and for guardianship of L.A.

         On February 9, 2016, the court held a review hearing. The court granted the foster parents' motion to intervene but reserved a ruling on Traman's motion to intervene pending a home study. The court further found that Rosenbaum still had not completed parenting classes or his drug assessment.

         On June 7, 2016, the court held a review hearing. DHS introduced into evidence the results of Traman's home study and recommended that L.A. not be placed with Traman at that time. Christy Kissee, the family-service-worker supervisor, testified that she did not recommend placement with Traman due to Traman's lack of income. She noted that Traman's only income is her son Brandon's disability benefits. On cross-examination, she admitted that the home itself was adequate and appropriate for the child. However, she believed that Traman's lack of financial support prevented placement of L.A. with her. She further voiced concern of Traman's dependent behavior on Brandon.

         Traman testified that she lives with Brandon and her nine-year-old grandson, of whom she has a guardianship. She explained that Rosenbaum had recently moved out of her home and into an apartment because she wanted to make room for L.A. and because Rosenbaum had tested positive for K2. She explained that she inherited her home from her mother and that Brandon pays her utility bills. She stated that Brandon's income is $653 per month and that amount is her total household income. She noted that she babysits on occasion and supplements that income. She testified that if the court restricted access between Rosenbaum and L.A., she would abide by the court's order. At ...


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