FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TENTH DIVISION [NO.
60JV-18-85], HONORABLE JOYCE WILLIAMS WARREN, JUDGE
Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant.
T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Jessica Beaird appeals a Pulaski County Circuit Court order
terminating her parental rights to her infant son,
D.B. Pursuant to Linker-Flores v.
Arkansas Department of Human Services, 359 Ark. 131, 194
S.W.3d 739 (2004), and Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 6-9(i)
(2018), Beaird’s counsel has filed a motion to be relieved as
counsel and a no-merit brief asserting that there are no
issues of arguable merit to support an appeal. The clerk of
our court sent copies of the brief and the motion to withdraw
to Beaird informing her of her right to file pro se points
for reversal pursuant to Rule 6-9(i)(3); she has not done so.
Counsel’s brief contains an abstract and addendum of the
proceedings below and states that the only ruling adverse to
Beaird was the termination of her parental rights. Counsel
asserts that there was sufficient evidence to support the
termination. See Linker-Flores, supra ;
Ark. S.Ct. R. 6-9(i). We agree that there are no issues of
arguable merit on which to base an appeal. We provide the
following summary of facts and procedural history in support
of our conclusion.
gave birth to D.B. in January 2018. At the time of delivery,
Beaird tested positive for amphetamines. D.B.’s urine was
negative, but a subsequent meconium test was positive for
illegal substances. Beaird denied drug usage but had
outbursts at the hospital and would not cooperate with
hospital staff. The hospital contacted the Arkansas
Department of Human Services (DHS). DHS attempted to set up a
team decision-making meeting with Beaird at the hospital, but
she refused to cooperate. The DHS caseworker also attempted
several times to contact the child’s father, Clifton
Beaird, but was unable to do so. DHS then
exercised a seventy-two-hour hold on newborn D.B. and
initiated a dependency-neglect proceeding in the circuit
probable-cause hearing, the court was informed of Beaird’s
previous contact with DHS. Beaird had been involved with DHS
on four separate occasions. Two of those occurrences took
place in 2007 and 2015 and involved allegations of newborns
testing positive for illegal substances. Both of those cases
resulted in the termination of her parental rights.
adjudication hearing, Beaird stipulated that D.B.’s
dependency-neglect was based on neglect (Garrett’s law) and
parental unfitness by the mother, because the juvenile tested
positive for amphetamines and methamphetamine at the time of
his birth. The trial court adjudicated D.B.
dependent-neglected on the basis of this stipulation and the
results of the child’s meconium test, which were positive for
illegal substances. Of significance, the court found, on the
basis of the mother’s testimony at the hearing, that she was
not being honest with the court and was not
credible when she testified about her previous drug usage.
Nevertheless, the court set the goal as reunification and
directed DHS to provide reunification services to Beaird.
the court conducted additional hearings and made findings
concerning Beaird’s compliance with the case plan and court
orders. In particular, the court found that DHS had provided
appropriate services but found that Beaird had only partially
complied. Despite the provision of appropriate services,
Beaird had tested positive on a drug screen, had possibly
tampered with the results of other drug screens, had not
entered or completed inpatient substance-abuse treatment, and
had not submitted to a hair-shaft drug test or other drug
screens when directed by DHS. Additionally, the court noted
that Beaird was no longer employed and had stopped going to
counseling for a time. While she had visited with the
juvenile, she exhibited inappropriate behavior during some of