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Jones v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

May 29, 2019

Brianna JONES, Appellant
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES and Minor Children, Appellees

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 314

          APPEAL FROM THE HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 29JV-16-179], HONORABLE RANDY WRIGHT, JUDGE

         Montgomery & Burke, by: Wm. Blake Montgomery and Jim A. Burke, Hope, for appellant.

          Andrew Firth, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.

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

         OPINION

         RAYMOND 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.[1]

          On 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 children’s 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 environmental

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neglect in 2012 and a previous dependency-neglect case from 2013-2015.

          On November 3, 2016, the circuit court adjudicated S.B. and K.J. dependent-neglected on the basis of Jones’s stipulation to neglect and parental unfitness. The circuit court found Jones’s "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.

         At the 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 Jones’s parental ...


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