FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66FJV-2017-392], HONORABLE ANNIE POWELL HENDRICKS, JUDGE
Bowers Lee, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for
K. Howard, Jonesboro, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad litem for
R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Thacker appeals the Sebastian County Circuit Court order
terminating his parental rights to his daughter, B.T. (D.O.B.
6/3/11). On appeal, he argues that the circuit court erred by
terminating his parental rights because there was
insufficient evidence to support a statutory ground for
termination. We affirm.
September 8, 2017, the Arkansas Department of Human Services
(DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect over B.T. The petition named Thacker as
the legal father and Rachel Heydorn as the
mother. In the affidavit attached to the
petition, DHS alleged that Heydorn had been
arrested and that Heydorn had informed officers
that B.T. was living with the childs father, Jeremy Taylor.
However, a family-service worker discovered that Thacker, not
Taylor, was listed as the father on B.T.s birth certificate.
When the family-service worker interviewed Taylor, Taylor
explained that Heydorn had been married to Thacker at the
time of B.T.s birth, but that he, Taylor, is B.T.s
biological father. The affidavit further stated that a
family-service worker verified during Heydorns background
check that she had been married to Thacker from January 5,
2010, through February 17, 2012. DHS placed a
seventy-two-hour hold on B.T. because Taylor did not have
legal custody of the child. The court entered an ex parte
order for emergency custody on September 8, 2017, and on
September 13, the court found probable cause for the
November 6, the court adjudicated B.T. dependent-neglected
based on Heydorns parental unfitness and inadequate
supervision. Thacker appeared at the hearing with counsel.
The court found the allegations in the petition for emergency
custody true and correct. Specifically, the court found
Thacker to be the "non-custodial parent who is a legal
parent" and that he did not contribute to the
dependency-neglect of B.T. However, the court found that
Thacker was not a fit parent because he had not attempted to
visit B.T. and had admitted using marijuana. The court set
the case goal as reunification, awarded Thacker visitation,
and ordered him to comply with the case plan.
March 28 and April 25, 2018, the court held a review hearing.
The court found that Thacker had completed parenting classes
but had displayed concerning behavior during visitation. The
court set concurrent goals of reunification and adoption, and
it ordered Thacker to comply with the case plan.
July 25, the court held a permanency-planning hearing.
Thacker appeared at the hearing with his court-appointed
counsel and his attorney ad litem. The court found that
Thacker was living in a one-bedroom house and had reported
that he was employed but had not offered proof of employment.
The court noted that he had completed parenting classes and
had visited B.T. but that he had acted inappropriately during
visitation and had failed to cooperate when corrected. The
court found that Thacker did not have the ability to improve
or learn from services. The court ordered DHS to make a
referral for genetic testing for Thacker, and it changed the
goal of the case to termination of parental ...