FROM THE SEBASTIAN COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FORT SMITH DISTRICT
[NO. 66FJV-17-196] HONORABLE LEIGH ZUERKER, JUDGE
Lightle, Raney, Streit & Streit, LLP, by: Jonathan R.
Streit, for appellant.
K. Howard, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor children.
J. GLADWIN, Judge
Deana Davis appeals the January 24, 2019 order of the
Sebastian County Circuit Court terminating her parental
rights to her minor children, J.E., K.E., and E.J. Deana
challenges the statutory grounds relied on by the court to
terminate her parental rights and makes a general challenge
to the court's best-interest finding. We affirm.
March 26, 2017, Eric Jenkins was arrested for public
intoxication, disorderly conduct, refusal to submit to
arrest, and third-degree domestic battery. The arrest
occurred after Deana reported that Eric had been drinking and
attacked her-specifically, that Eric pushed Deana into a
window multiple times while the children were near the scene
of the incident. A hotline call was made on April 3, 2017,
regarding the March 26, 2017 incident.
April 3, the Arkansas State Police notified appellee, the
Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), about the
domestic-abuse incident between Deana and Eric. On April 4,
Deana executed an affidavit in support of a petition for
domestic order of protection regarding the events from March
26. DHS initiated a non-court-ordered protective-services
case and held a staffing on April 6. Deana agreed to abide by
the no-contact order and comply with DHS's
recommendations for services, such as domestic-violence
classes and HUD housing.
April 11, DHS held another staffing with Deana at which time
she stated that she would not have obtained the no-contact
order against Eric had DHS not become involved and that she
did not see an issue with his being around the children.
Despite this statement, Deana again agreed to abide by the
no-contact order and to participate in DHS services.
April 12, family service worker (FSW) Pearson called Eric to
discuss the case and the services that DHS was offering to
him. Eric indicated to FSW Pearson that he was residing with
Deana's mother, Vicky Davis, and that same day, when FSW
Pearson made a home visit to Vicky's residence, Eric fled
out the back door because Deana and the children were inside
the residence. FSW Pearson found Eric violating the
no-contact order with Deana, and she alerted law enforcement,
who arrived and arrested both Eric and Deana for the
violation. As a result, DHS exercised a seventy-two-hour hold
on the children.
April 17, DHS filed a petition for emergency custody and
dependency-neglect of J.E., K.E., and E.J., and on the same
day, the circuit court entered an ex parte emergency order of
custody for the three children.
April 20, the circuit court held a probable-cause hearing
wherein it found that probable cause existed at the time of
the emergency order and continued to exist for the children
to remain in DHS's custody. Additionally, the circuit
court ordered that Joshua Evans (Joshua)-father of J.E. and
K.E.-and Eric-father of E.J.-not be allowed visitation or
contact with the children. The probable-cause order was
entered on May 12, 2017.
adjudication hearing on May 25, the children were adjudicated
dependent-neglected based on Deana's stipulation
regarding her failure to protect the children. The court
further ordered a goal of reunification, and Deana was
ordered to comply with the case plan; have stable and
appropriate housing, income and transportation; complete
parenting classes; complete a drug-and-alcohol assessment and
hair-follicle tests and comply with the treatment
recommendations therefrom; and submit to random drug screens
and visits. Additionally, the court found that Eric was not a
fit parent and ordered that he have no contact with Deana or
the children while the criminal no-contact order and/or
orders of protection were in place. The adjudication order
was filed on July 24, 2017.
review hearing was held on September 21 at which time the
circuit court continued the goal of reunification. It found
that DHS had complied with the case plan and orders of the
court regarding services being rendered. The circuit court
also found that Deana had housing, income, and
transportation; had completed twenty-one of twenty-six
domestic-violence classes; had completed parenting classes;
had completed her drug-and-alcohol assessment with treatment
underway; had visited the children regularly; had submitted
to drug screens and hair-follicle tests; and had completed
one couples-counseling session. A review order was filed on
November 3, 2017.
second review hearing took place on November 16 wherein the
circuit court continued the goal of reunification. The
circuit court again found that DHS had complied with the case
plan and orders of the court regarding services being
rendered to Deana including, but not limited to,
domestic-violence classes. The circuit court noted that Deana
had continued to comply with the case plan and orders of the
court. The court further found that family counseling had
begun with Joshua but that Eric had not yet been added to the
counseling sessions. Based on Eric's and Deana's