FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, ELEVENTH DIVISION [NO.
60JV-16-106] HONORABLE PATRICIA JAMES, JUDGE
Bowers Lee, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for
Goff, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor child.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
Abdi appeals the Pulaski County Circuit Court order
terminating his parental rights to his son, H.A. On appeal,
Abdi argues that the circuit court erred in finding that (1)
a statutory ground supported termination and (2) it was in
H.A.'s best interest to terminate his parental rights. We
January 25, 2016, the Arkansas Department of Human Services
(DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect of H.A. In the affidavit attached to the
petition, DHS alleged it had received a report concerning
H.A.'s mother's, Chavi Stampley's, mental health
after she gave birth to his half sister, N.S. When a DHS worker
made contact with Stampley, Stampley stated that she had left
H.A. with Abdi while she gave birth to N.S. DHS interviewed
Abdi, and he explained that he and Stampley had been in a
relationship for ten years, but they were no longer together.
He stated that he previously had custody of H.A. He had then
returned custody of H.A. to Stampley, but a month before she
was to give birth to N.S., she had returned custody back to
him. The court entered an ex parte order for emergency
custody on the same day the petition was filed.
February 1, 2016, the court entered a probable-cause order.
The court found probable cause for the emergency custody and
awarded Abdi visitation with the child. On March 14, 2016,
the court adjudicated H.A. dependent-neglected based on
Stampley's parental unfitness, but the court found that
Abdi did not contribute to the dependency-neglect finding. As
to Abdi, the court found:
Mr. Abdi is the one that has taken care of [H.A.], but Mr.
Abdi has made some poor decisions along the way. He should
take advantage of the services offered to work past these
issues so they are not concerns anymore. Mr. Abdi should
encourage [H.A.], but he should not make any false promises.
Mr. Abdi needs to stop drinking alcohol altogether. Alcohol
has been an issue in his past; he had to go to drug and
alcohol classes because of it.
13, 2016, the court held a review hearing. Danielle
Kimbrough, a DHS employee, testified that Abdi was in partial
compliance with the case plan in that he had visited H.A. and
was attending parenting classes. However, she testified that
he had tested positive for alcohol on a screening on May 10
and had not completed his drug-and-alcohol assessment. She
further noted that he had attempted to complete his
psychological evaluation but needed an interpreter and that a
referral had been made. The court found that Abdi "is
doing a bit better, but still needs work" and ordered
him "to get going and finish services."
January 11, 2017, the court entered a permanency-planning
order. The court authorized DHS to proceed with termination
of Stampley's parental rights, although the court found
that Abdi had made substantial, measurable progress and
ordered that services to him should continue. The court
believed placement with Abdi could occur by or at the next
hearing, which would be within three months. The court
granted Abdi unsupervised visitation at the DHS office with
progression to day visits at Abdi's home, at DHS's
discretion. The court further ordered him to ensure that all
his criminal fines, fees, and requirements were up to date.
February 14, 2017, DHS filed a motion for revocation of
Abdi's unsupervised visitation. DHS alleged that during
the first unsupervised visit at Abdi's home, H.A. called
his foster mother to pick him up because Abdi had drunk
several bottles of liquor and had been so intoxicated that he
would not wake up. When the foster parents arrived, they
observed that Abdi appeared to be intoxicated. On the same
day the motion was filed, the court entered an order revoking
Abdi's unsupervised visitation.
April 5, 2017, the court entered a permanency-planning order.
The court found Abdi "has an alcohol problem. It is
obvious to everyone but him." The court further found
that DHS may make a drug-and-alcohol-assessment referral, but
it did "not believe [Abdi] will be truthful." The
court changed the goal of the case to adoption with
proceeding toward termination of parental rights.
April 21, 2017, DHS filed a petition for termination of
Abdi's parental rights. DHS alleged three grounds for
termination: (1) the child had been adjudicated
dependent-neglected and had continued to be out of the home
of the noncustodial parent for twelve months and despite a
meaningful effort by DHS to rehabilitate the parent and
correct the conditions that prevented the child from safely
being placed in the parent's home, the parent had failed
to remedy the conditions; (2) other factors or issues arose
subsequent to the filing of the original petition for
dependency neglect that demonstrate that placement of the
child in the custody of the parent is contrary to the
child's health, safety, or welfare and that, despite the
offer of appropriate services, the parent has manifested the
incapacity or indifference to remedy the subsequent issues or
factors or rehabilitate the parent's circumstances that
prevent the placement of the ...