[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 29JV-16-179],
HONORABLE RANDY WRIGHT, JUDGE
& Burke, by: Wm. Blake Montgomery and Jim A. Burke, Hope, for
Firth, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, for minor children.
R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Appellant Brianna Jones appeals an order by the Hempstead
County Circuit Court terminating her parental rights to her
daughters, S.B. and K.J. On appeal, Jones argues that the
circuit court erred in terminating her parental rights
because the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)
failed to meet its burden of proof. We affirm.
September 6, 2016, the juveniles were removed from the
physical and legal custody of Jones after their nine-day-old
sibling, A.J., suffered an unexplained cranial fracture and
died. K.J. had bug bites all over her arms, face, and legs,
and her feet were blackened because she had no shoes. The
home was filthy with piles of dirt, debris, unclean dishes,
old food, urine and dog feces, condom packages, and trash.
Tobacco, open chemicals, and firearms were all within the
childrens reach. DHS assumed emergency custody over then
four-year-old S.B. and two-year-old K.J. Jones had an
extensive history with DHS, including a true finding for
neglect in 2012 and a previous dependency-neglect case from
November 3, 2016, the circuit court adjudicated S.B. and K.J.
dependent-neglected on the basis of Joness stipulation to
neglect and parental unfitness. The circuit court found
Joness "failure to provide a shelter that does not pose
a risk or safety hazard to the juveniles" was a basis
for its decision. The goal of the case was set as
reunification, and Jones was ordered to participate in
parenting classes, submit to random drug screens, and
participate in counseling and homemaking services.
December 8, 2016 hearing, the circuit court found Jones in
partial compliance with the case plan in that she had been
visiting the children and her drug screens were negative, but
she had not yet completed counseling. The court also ordered
Jones to undergo a psychological assessment. Dr. Betty Feir
conducted the psychological evaluation of Jones and concluded
that Jones had possible borderline personality and bipolar
disorders, and had long-standing problems with DHS. Jones was
also diagnosed by a counselor "with adjustment disorder,
with mixed anxiety and depressed mood." Dr. Feir
recommended that Joness parental ...