FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, ELEVENTH DIVISION [NO.
60JV-16-1316] HONORABLE PATRICIA JAMES, 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.
M. GLOVER, JUDGE.
Holdcraft appeals the Pulaski County Circuit Court's
termination of her parental rights to her daughter, SH (DOB
5-23-12). She argues it was not in SH's best
interest for her parental rights to be terminated. We affirm
the termination of Holdcraft's parental rights.
Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) exercised a
seventy-two-hour hold on SH on November 3, 2016, after
receiving a child-maltreatment report that methamphetamine
was within easy reach of SH in Holdcraft's home and
alleging Holdcraft was not an adequate caregiver due to her
use of drugs. While investigating the report, the DCFS worker
observed that Holdcraft appeared to be under the influence of
an unknown substance, was fidgety, and was constantly moving.
While Holdcraft denied using any illegal substances, she
admitted others in the house had done so; the DCFS worker
could smell alcohol on Holdcraft, who admitted she had been
drinking throughout the day. Holdcraft tested positive for
methamphetamine, amphetamines, and marijuana; cocaine and
drug paraphernalia were discovered in the house; and a
marijuana plant was found growing in the laundry room.
Holdcraft was arrested on drug charges, and SH was taken into
DHS custody due to neglect and parental unfitness. On
November 7, 2016, DHS filed a petition for emergency custody
and dependency-neglect; an order granting emergency custody
was filed on that same day.
November 14, a probable-cause hearing was held, and the
circuit court entered an order finding that based on the
stipulation of the parties, there was probable cause to
continue custody of SH with DHS. The circuit court found DHS
had made reasonable efforts to prevent removal. At the time
of the probable-cause hearing, Holdcraft was incarcerated in
the Pulaski County jail. On December 19, an adjudication
hearing was held, and the circuit court entered an order
finding SH was dependent-neglected. The parties stipulated to
the finding of dependency-neglect based on parental
unfitness, specifically Holdcraft's drug use, which
affected her ability to parent SH. The goal of the case
continued to be reunification, with a concurrent goal of
adoption, and the circuit court found that DHS had made
reasonable efforts to provide services and achieve the goal
of the case.
April 24, 2017, a review hearing was held. The circuit court
entered an order finding Holdcraft had made substantial
progress since the last hearing by completing her
psychological examination; attending outpatient therapy as
recommended; participating in therapy; testing negative on
all drug screens; visiting SH on a consistent basis; and
being employed. The circuit court noted Holdcraft was
considering divorcing SH's father, David Holdcraft. The
goal of the case remained reunification with Holdcraft. DHS
was found to have made reasonable efforts to provide services
and achieve the goal of the case.
October 9, a permanency-planning hearing was held. The
circuit court entered an order finding Holdcraft had made no
measurable progress and was only paying "lip
service" to the case plan. Specifically, evidence was
presented that Holdcraft had a positive drug screen on
September 27, 2017, for methamphetamine and amphetamines, and
she had tested positive for alcohol on August 16. Holdcraft
had also been arrested on May 31, 2017, in Saline County for
driving while intoxicated; she had her sixteen-year-old son
in the car with her at that time. She pleaded guilty to DWI
and child endangerment and was placed on probation and fined.
The circuit court found Holdcraft had not remained sober, and
if she wanted to raise SH, she had to make SH a priority over
alcohol and drugs. The goal of the case was changed to
adoption and termination of parental rights. DHS was found to
have made reasonable efforts to provide services.
December 5, 2017, DHS filed a petition for termination of
parental rights; that petition was voluntarily withdrawn on
February 12, 2018, and the hearing was instead converted to a
review hearing. In the review-hearing order, the court found
the goal of the case was tentative reunification with
Holdcraft. It was also found that DHS had made reasonable
efforts to provide services. While SH remained in DHS
custody, the circuit court found Holdcraft's visitation
could be expanded if it did not interfere with SH's
therapies and school, and Holdcraft could participate in
SH's counseling and therapy as recommended. The circuit
court further found Albert Popp, Holdcraft's significant
other, could attend visitation but was subject to
2, 2018, a permanency-planning order was filed in which the
circuit court changed the case goal to adoption and
authorized DHS to file a petition to terminate
Holdcraft's parental rights. Holdcraft had tested
positive for alcohol on February 28 and March 14, 2018; at
the March 21 staffing, Holdcraft appeared to be suffering
from withdrawals; she entered detox at Baptist Hospital and
was discharged March 23; she entered inpatient treatment on
March 26; and after she was released, Holdcraft was able to
return to work. The circuit court found Holdcraft had
continued to drink throughout the case; she lived with Mr.
Popp, who also had a history of alcohol abuse but still
worked at a liquor store; they abused alcohol together;
Holdcraft had lied and cheated her way through the case and
merely checked off boxes without any real change; and
although Holdcraft had a bond with SH, her bond with alcohol
and addiction was stronger.
21, 2018, DHS filed a second petition to terminate
Holdcraft's parental rights alleging three bases
applicable to her: (1) SH had been adjudicated
dependent-neglected and had continued out of Holdcraft's
custody for a period of twelve months, and despite a
meaningful effort by DHS to correct the conditions causing
removal, the conditions had not been remedied (Ark. Code Ann.
§ 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(i)(a))(Supp. 2017); (2)
other factors or issues arose subsequent to the filing of the
original petition for dependency-neglect that demonstrate
placement of SH in Holdcraft's custody is contrary to her
health, safety, or welfare and that, despite the offer of
appropriate family services, Holdcraft had manifested the
incapacity or indifference to remedy the subsequent issues or
factors or to rehabilitate the circumstances preventing
placement of the juvenile in Holdcraft's custody (Ark.
Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(vii)(a)); and (3)
SH was subjected to aggravated circumstances (Ark. Code Ann.
termination hearing, Dr. George DeRoeck, a psychologist,
testified Holdcraft suffered from substance abuse of
methamphetamine, cannabis, and alcohol, and she had an
adjustment disorder with mixed disturbance of emotions and
conduct. He believed Holdcraft needed more intensive
residential treatment, with the possibility of chemical-free
living with SH after treatment. ...