Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Parker v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

September 18, 2019

KATHERINE PARKER, APPELLANT
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND MINOR CHILD, APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 46JV-16-39], HONORABLE CARLTON D. JONES, JUDGE.

          Tina Bowers Lee, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant.

          Callie Corbyn, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.

          Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad litem for minor child.

          KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge.

         Appellant Katherine Parker appeals after the Miller County Circuit Court filed an order terminating her parental rights to G.P. (DOB 3-25-2015). Appellant argues on appeal that (1) the trial court erred in terminating her parental rights on the basis of the grounds asserted in the petition because there was insufficient proof offered to support those grounds; (2) if this court affirms the decision to terminate her rights, the case must be reversed for an order voluntarily terminating her rights based on consent because the court found that it was not timely revoked; and (3) the trial court erred in finding that termination of her parental rights was in G.P.'s best interest. We affirm as modified.

         I. Facts

         On March 11, 2016, the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) filed a petition for emergency custody and dependency-neglect of G.P. In the affidavit attached to the petition, DHS stated that a seventy-two-hour hold was exercised over G.P. because she was in immediate danger due to the allegations involving inadequate supervision. When G.P. was removed, G.P. had been living with her maternal grandmother, and appellant, a minor herself, was living with her half sister in Texas. The trial court granted the petition, finding that probable cause existed for the removal. In the May 2, 2016 adjudication order, G.P. was found to be dependent-neglected as a result of neglect. Appellant was ordered to submit to random drug screens, submit to a psychological evaluation, successfully complete counseling if recommended, successfully complete parenting classes, maintain employment, and maintain regular contact with G.P. The goal of the case was set as reunification with a concurrent plan for relative placement, and the dependency-neglect case proceeded in the normal course with further hearings.

         There were several review hearings throughout this proceeding, most of which appellant attended.[1] A second permanency-planning hearing was held on March 14, 2018. It was at this hearing that the trial court changed the goal from reunification to adoption and authorized DHS to file a petition for termination of parental rights. Regarding appellant, the trial court found the following:

The mother HAS NOT complied with the case plan and the orders of the Court. Specifically, the mother has not obtained independent housing, she has not obtained her GED, she has not submitted to a psychological evaluation, she has had positive drug screens, she has not submitted to a hair strand test, and she has not submitted to a drug/alcohol assessment. The mother did state that she babysits but has failed to provide proof. The mother did submit to a random drug screen in January of this year and was positive for Meth and THC. The mother stated in open court that she has been actively seeking employment.

         DHS filed a petition for termination of parental rights on March 15, 2018. DHS alleged several grounds for termination under Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-27-341(b)(3)(B) (Supp. 2017) that were applicable to appellant, including the failure-to-remedy, failure-to-provide-material-support or maintain-meaningful-contact, abandonment, other-subsequent-factors, and aggravated-circumstances grounds.

         Appellant was represented by counsel. Before the hearing for the termination of parental rights, on July 24, 2018, appellant signed her consent to the termination of her parental rights pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(v)(a). At the beginning of the hearing, appellant's counsel informed the court that appellant had signed a consent to the termination and would like to be excused from the hearing. In appellant's written consent, she specifically stated that she was freely and voluntarily relinquishing all of her "rights and terminate my relationship of parent and child as to [G.P.] in order that the said child may be placed in a permanent home." Moreover, the written consent stated that appellant was of the "firm conviction and belief and convinced beyond any doubt that this action is in the best interests of [her child]." Appellant further acknowledged in her consent that she understood that she had ten days to withdraw her consent by filing a notice of withdrawal in the form of an affidavit filed with the clerk of the court pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated section 9-27-341(g)(1)(A) and that the ten- day-calendar-day period ended on August 3, 2018. After accepting appellant's consent, the trial court granted appellant's request to be excused.

         After appellant had been excused, the hearing continued, and the trial court heard testimony and received evidence on DHS's petition to terminate parental rights. This testimony included proof of statutory grounds for termination, adoptability of the child, and best interest. At the conclusion of the hearing, appellant's attorney requested that the record remain open for the ten days in which appellant had the right to change her mind about the consent she signed. The trial court agreed.

         Despite the fact that the deadline to file a withdrawal of her consent expired on August 3, 2018, appellant subsequently filed a handwritten pro se signed note with the clerk of the court on August 10, 2018, that simply stated, "I Katherine Carolyn Parker want/need to revoke signing my rights over on my daughter [G.P.]." The trial court held a hearing regarding appellant's request to revoke her consent on September 19, 2018. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court orally granted DHS's petition for termination of appellant's parental rights, and a written order was filed on October 7, 2018, terminating appellant's parental rights on five statutory grounds for involuntary termination in addition to the voluntary-consent ground. The trial court made the following pertinent findings:

The termination hearing began on June 20, 2018 which was continued to July 24, 2018 by agreement of Parent Counsel and the Attorney Ad Litem. At the July 24, 2018 trial, Defendant, Katherine Parker, signed a waiver of parental rights pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated Section 9-27-341(g)(1)(A), which was filed with the Miller County Circuit Clerk. Subsequently, . . . on the 10th day of August, 2018, the Defendant Katherine Parker filed an ex parte revocation of the waiver of parental rights. The filing of this revocation was seven (7) days late pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated Section 9-27-341(g)(1)(A) and the attempted revocation was not considered by ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.