FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, ELEVENTH DIVISION [NO.
60JV-18-8], HONORABLE PATRICIA JAMES, JUDGE
Lanford, Arkansas Public Defender Commission, for appellant
Lightle, Raney, Streit & Streit, LLP, by: Jonathan R. Streit,
for appellant Vincent Peal.
K. Howard, Jonesboro, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad litem for
R. ABRAMSON, Judge
Jessica Atwood and Vincent Peal appeal the Pulaski County
Circuit Court order terminating their parental rights to
their child, S.A. (10/30/17). On appeal, they both argue that
the circuit court erred by finding it was in the best
interest of the child to terminate their parental rights
because the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS)
failed to provide sufficient evidence of adoptability. Peal
additionally argues that the circuit court erred by
terminating his parental rights because DHS did not offer him
any meaningful services. We affirm.
January 4, 2018, DHS filed a petition for emergency custody
and dependency-neglect of S.A. The petition listed Atwood as
the mother and Peal as the putative father, and it stated
that Peal was incarcerated at the Jefferson County Detention
Center. In the affidavit attached to the petition, DHS
alleged that Atwood had been arrested for first-degree
terroristic threatening and endangering the welfare of a
minor. On the same day the petition was filed, the court
entered an ex parte order for emergency custody. On January
10, the court found probable cause for the emergency custody.
February 15, the court held an adjudication hearing. Both
Atwood and Peal were present. The court adjudicated S.A.
dependent-neglected based on Atwoods unfitness in that she
was "behaving erratically resulting in her arrest, and
subsequently [she] has housing instability." The court
advised Peal to contact DHS upon his release from jail in
order to obtain a DNA test and establish paternity.
court held a review hearing on June 20. Atwood and Peal did
not appear for the hearing. The court found that Atwood
"has done nothing" and that based on a DNA test,
Peal is the father of the child. The court noted that S.A.s
foster mother testified that she is bonded to the child and
that she is interested in being a permanent placement for
December 12, the court held a permanency-planning hearing.
Atwood appeared at the hearing, but Peal did not. The court
noted that Peal had gone to the DHS office in Jefferson
County and had been informed of the date and time of the
hearing but that DHS had no other contact with him. The court
noted that Atwood was in jail in Pulaski County. The court
found that both Atwood and Peal "have done nothing"
and that no progress had been made by either parent.
January 28, 2019, DHS filed a petition for termination of
Atwoods and Peals parental rights. DHS alleged the
subsequent-factors grounds against both Atwood and Peal.
DHS also alleged the ...