FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, EIGHTH DIVISION [NO.
60JV-17-791] HONORABLE WILEY A. BRANTON, JR., JUDGE
Tabitha McNulty, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for
K. Howard, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor child.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE
Parnell appeals the Pulaski County Circuit Court's order
terminating her parental rights to her daughter, K.L. On
appeal, Parnell argues that the circuit court erred in
finding that it was in K.L.'s best interest to terminate
her parental rights. We affirm.
5, 2017, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)
filed an ex parte petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect of K.L. In the affidavit attached to the
petition, DHS stated that it had exercised an emergency hold
over K.L. because Parnell had exposed the child to domestic
violence, had tested positive for methamphetamine and THC,
and was homeless. The affidavit further noted that Parnell
had suicidal thoughts. The court entered an order of
emergency custody that same day.
14, 2017, the court entered an order finding probable cause
for the emergency custody. On September 20, 2017, the court
entered an adjudication order. In the order, the court
adjudicated K.L. dependent-neglected based on Parnell's
mental and emotional instability, housing instability, and
illegal drug use. The court further noted that Parnell had
been convicted of involuntary manslaughter of her son in
Illinois in 2012, and it made an aggravated-circumstances
finding. The court set concurrent goals of reunification and
relative placement. The court ordered DHS to arrange a home
study on K.L.'s maternal uncle, Jacob Parnell, who lived
November 20, 2017, the court entered a permanency-planning
order. The court found that Parnell had made efforts to
comply with services. The court noted that Parnell had tested
negative on her past ten drug screenings and negative on her
alcohol screenings. The court noted that she did not have a
driver's license or a car but that a friend and her
employer had assisted her with transportation.
April 3, 2018, Parnell filed consent to termination of her
parental rights to K.L. However, on April 4, she filed a
notice of withdrawal of her consent.
April 17, the circuit court entered a permanency-planning
order from an April 3 hearing. The court changed the goal of
the case to termination of Parnell's parental rights. The
court found that Parnell had been untruthful concerning the
circumstances surrounding her conviction of involuntary
manslaughter. The court further referenced the report from
Parnell's August 2017 psychological evaluation. In the
report, Dr. Paul Deyoub found that Parnell had borderline
personality disorder. The report further stated:
There is and has been a pattern of unstable and intense
interpersonal relationships with extremes in relationship
chaos. There is identity disturbance, persistent unstable
self-image, periodic substance abuse, affective instability,
inappropriate and intense anger and constantly changing her
situation with marked immaturity. In addition, no matter what
her version is, she is a convicted child-abuser and was
incarcerated for the death of her newborn baby. When [K.L.]
was age three months Ms. Parnell was involved in chaotic
relationships and could not care for her child, as she was
leaving [K.L.] with a teenage girl and continually fought
with her girlfriend.
court noted that Parnell had been arrested in February 2018
for domestic battery but that she did not report the arrest
to DHS and initially denied it at a March meeting. The court
again made a finding of aggravated circumstances. The court
noted that Parnell had a "fragile mental and emotional
state of mind."
4, 2018, DHS filed a petition for termination of
Parnell's parental rights. DHS alleged the
subsequent-factors ground pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated
section 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(vii)(a). DHS further
alleged grounds pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section
9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(xi)(a)(1) and (3) that
Parnell had been found by a court of competent ...