FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66FJV-16-96] HONORABLE ANNIE HENDRICKS, JUDGE
Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant.
K. Howard, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor child.
F. VIRDEN, JUDGE
Sebastian County Circuit Court terminated appellant Julie
Strickland's parental rights to her daughter, C.H. (DOB:
9-10-2002). She argues that the trial court erred in
finding that termination of her parental rights was in
C.H.'s best interest because, due to C.H.'s advanced
age, adoption is "not a logical means to a permanent or
healthy end for C.H." We find no error and affirm.
February 24, 2016, the Arkansas Department of Human Services
(DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect with respect to then thirteen-year-old
C.H. In an affidavit attached to the petition, a DHS employee
alleged that on February 21, 2016, DHS had been contacted by
the Fort Smith Police Department after finding C.H. in a
parked car with a man in his forties around 2:10 a.m.
Strickland was called to the scene. She described the man as
a family friend and said that she had sent C.H. to stay with
the man because Strickland's husband, Jason, had beaten
her while he was intoxicated a couple of days ago. Strickland
was aware that the man charged with caring for C.H. had no
residence. Strickland was subsequently arrested on an
outstanding warrant. She stated that C.H.'s father was
not involved in C.H.'s life. Because C.H. had no
caregiver, a seventy-two-hour hold was taken on her.
trial court entered an ex parte order for emergency custody
and later found probable cause that the emergency conditions
that necessitated C.H.'s removal from Strickland's
custody continued to exist. The trial court adjudicated C.H.
dependent-neglected due to neglect by Strickland caused by
her inadequate supervision and her arrest and established the
goal of reunification.
review order entered September 23, 2016, the trial court
continued the goal of reunification and found that DHS had
made reasonable efforts to provide services to the family and
that Strickland had not completed any services. The trial
court also noted that C.H. had been hospitalized after
suffering a seizure but that Strickland had not visited her.
permanency-planning order entered March 28, 2017, the trial
court set the goal as reunification with a concurrent goal of
adoption and termination of parental rights. The trial court
found that DHS had made reasonable efforts to provide
services to the family but that Strickland had failed to
participate in counseling and domestic-violence classes and
had not submitted to a psychological evaluation and
hair-follicle drug testing. The trial court also noted that
Strickland had no home and no transportation and that
"she is again separating from her husband." The
trial court found that Strickland had completed parenting
classes and had visited C.H.
fifteen-month review order entered June 5, 2017, the trial
court found that Strickland had no home, no employment or
income, and no transportation; she had failed to participate
in counseling and domestic-violence classes; she had not
submitted to hair-follicle drug testing; and she had
sporadically visited the juvenile. She had, however,
completed CJS (comprehensive juvenile services) parenting
classes and had submitted to a psychological evaluation. The
trial court relieved DHS of providing further services to
Strickland unless she appeared at the DHS office and
requested services. The trial court set concurrent goals of
APPLA (Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement) and
permanent custody with a relative. On June 23, 2017, DHS
filed a motion to modify visits on the basis that Strickland
had been inappropriate by asking C.H. for money and to
provide her with items to sell.
November 17, 2017, DHS filed a petition for termination of
parental rights, alleging grounds under Ark. Code Ann. §
9-27-341(b)(3)(B) (Supp. 2017): (i)(a) (twelve month
failure to remedy); (ii)(a) (willful failure to
provide significant material support or to maintain
meaningful contact with the juvenile); (vii)(a)
(other subsequent factors); and (ix)(a)(3)
(aggravated circumstances: little likelihood that services
will result in successful reunification).
review order was entered November 21, 2017, in which the
trial court found that Strickland had an apartment but was
not employed and had no income; she did not have a
driver's license; she had not appeared for two
hair-follicle drug tests; she had failed to participate in
counseling; she had failed to participate ...