Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bolden v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

March 28, 2018

BOBBY BOLDEN APPELLANT
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND MINOR CHILDREN APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM THE POPE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 58JV-15-251] HONORABLE KEN D. COKER, JR., JUDGE

          Dusti Standridge, for appellant.

          Mary Goff, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.

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

          LARRYD. VAUGHT, JUDGE

         Bobby Bolden appeals after the Pope County Circuit Court entered an order terminating his parental rights to his sons, N.B. (born 9-3-15) and L.B. (born 4-5-14). On appeal, Bolden challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the circuit court's findings that the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) proved statutory grounds and that termination was in the best interest of the children. Bolden also argues that the circuit court's termination decision is fundamentally unfair. We affirm.

         On December 1, 2015, DHS exercised a seventy-two-hour hold on N.B. and L.B. On the same date, DHS filed a petition for emergency custody and dependency-neglect seeking to remove the children from the custody of their mother, Crystal Griffin, due to her drug use and the physical abuse of the children while in her care.[1] Bolden, the putative father of N.B. and L.B., was incarcerated at the time. The circuit court entered an emergency order on December 3, 2015, and a probable-cause order was entered on December 16, 2015. An adjudication order was entered on January 11, 2016, [2] wherein the circuit court found the children were dependent-neglected based on parental unfitness due to Griffin's drug use and her failure to protect the children. The court further found that Bolden had not presented evidence that he had established significant contacts with the children; therefore, putative-parent rights did not attach. The goal of the case was reunification.

         A review-hearing order was entered on March 18, 2016, [3] in which the court found that Bolden is the legal father of N.B. and L.B. The order further directed Bolden to submit to random drug screens; attend and complete parenting classes; obtain and maintain stable and appropriate housing and employment; and maintain weekly contact with DHS. The goal of the case continued to be reunification. A second review-hearing order was entered on June 13, 2016. This order reordered Bolden to comply with the same case plan. The goal of the case continued to be reunification. A third review-hearing order was entered on August 29, 2016. The court reiterated the case-plan directives for Bolden. The court also directed DHS to initiate an ICPC home study on Bolden. The goal of the case continued to be reunification.

         On November 28, 2016, a permanency-planning hearing was held. In addition to the previously ordered services, the court ordered Bolden to provide DHS with proof of employment and be available for random drug testing. The goal of the case continued to be reunification. On December 5, 2016, the circuit court entered an order appointing special advocates (CASA).

         A second permanency-planning hearing was held on January 23, 2017. As it relates to Bolden, the court restated its case-plan directives. The goal of the case was changed to termination and adoption, and a termination hearing was scheduled.

         On February 27, 2017, DHS filed a petition for termination of parental rights against both Griffin and Bolden. DHS alleged that termination was in the best interest of N.B. and L.B. and that several grounds supported termination under Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-27-341(b)(3)(B) (Supp. 2017), including the failure-to-remedy, subsequent-factors, and failure-to-maintain-meaningful-contact grounds.

         A hearing on the termination petition was held on April 24, 2017. DHS caseworker Milissa Ennis testified that Bolden was incarcerated when N.B. and L.B. were placed in DHS custody in December 2015, was released in February 2016, and was reincarcerated in late January 2017. She said that he was expected to be released in June 2017.

         Ennis further testified that Bolden had sporadic employment during the case. She also stated he completed parenting classes and maintained "somewhat" stable housing. She said that after he was released from prison in February 2016, he lived in Pope County from February to May 2016, moved to Union County where he lived from May to July 2016, moved to Louisiana where he lived from July to October 2016, and moved back to Pope County where he lived from October 2016 to January 2017. She said he was reincarcerated in January 2017 for failure to pay court-ordered child support.[4]

         Ennis reported that Bolden tested positive for opiates and THC on May 4, 2016, and that he had a prescription for hydrocodone at that time; he was positive for opiates and THC on June 13, 2016; he had negative drug screens on June 20 and 30, 2016; he was positive for oxy and methadone on December 20, 2016; and he was negative for drugs on December 30, 2016.

         Ennis testified that Bolden attended only fifteen of forty-one scheduled visits with N.B. and L.B. and that there were big gaps in time when Bolden did not visit the children at all. She said that his last visit with the children was on December 30, 2016. Ennis stated that when Bolden did visit the children, the visits went well. Finally, Ennis testified that N.B. and L.B. were adoptable and that they lacked medical or behavioral issues that would prevent them from being adopted.

         Bolden testified that at the onset of this case, he had been incarcerated on a drug charge and was released on February 1, 2016. He said that he was later prosecuted and found guilty of failing to pay court-ordered child support for his two older children in the amount of $18, 000 to $20, 000 for which he received a ten-year-probation sentence. He testified that he absconded from probation when he moved to Louisiana without permission but that he did not know he was not permitted to leave Arkansas. Instead of having his probation extended, he elected to serve two years' imprisonment. He testified that he chose prison because DHS asked him to take care of his legal problems. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.