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Beaird v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

September 25, 2019

Jessica BEAIRD, Appellant
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES and Minor Child, Appellees

Page 173

          APPEAL FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TENTH DIVISION [NO. 60JV-18-85], HONORABLE JOYCE WILLIAMS WARREN, JUDGE

          Leah Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant.

          One brief only.

         OPINION

         PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge

Page 174

          Jessica Beaird appeals a Pulaski County Circuit Court order terminating her parental rights to her infant son, D.B.[1] 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.

         Beaird 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,[2] 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 court.

          At the 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.

          At the 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

Page 175

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.

         Subsequently, 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 ...


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