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Carpenter v. Arkansas Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

January 15, 2020

JAMIE CARPENTER, APPELLANT
v.
ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES AND MINOR CHILD, APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM THE MISSISSIPPI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, CHICKASAWBA DISTRICT. NO. 47BJV-17-126. HONORABLE RALPH WILSON, JR., JUDGE.

         COUNSEL:

          Jennifer Oyler Olson, Arkansas Commission for Parent Counsel, for appellant.

          Andrew Firth, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.

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

          PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge. ABRAMSON and SWITZER, JJ., agree.

         OPINION

Page 719

         PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge

          Appellant Jamie Carpenter appeals the order of the Mississippi County Circuit Court terminating her parental rights to her son, N.H. Carpenter contends that the circuit court clearly erred in its findings regarding the statutory grounds for termination, and she also challenges the court's finding that termination was in N.H.'s best interest. We affirm.

          I. Factual and Procedural Background

          The Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) removed N.H. from Carpenter's custody based on allegations of environmental neglect. At that time, Carpenter and N.H. lived with Carpenter's mother, whose home was " infested with roaches and dogs." DHS initiated a dependency-neglect proceeding, and the court adjudicated N.H. dependent-neglected on December 14, 2017, on the basis of environmental neglect. The court ordered Carpenter to comply with its " standard

Page 720

welfare orders," which expressly included obtaining and maintaining clean, safe, and stable housing, and the goal of the case was established as reunification.

          The court monitored the proceeding with two review hearings conducted in March and July 2018. In March, the court noted that Carpenter " does not have stable or appropriate housing at this time and is living with a sister who has a history with the Department." Specifically, the court found that Carpenter " has moved at least three times during this case and currently does not have stable or appropriate housing." In July, the court once again found Carpenter unfit, noting not only her housing instability but also a positive drug screen. With respect to DHS, the court found that it had complied with the case plan and court orders in that it had provided, referred, or otherwise ...


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