FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 72JV-17-699.
HONORABLE STACEY ZIMMERMAN, JUDGE.
Tabitha McNulty, Arkansas Commission for Parent Counsel, for
K. Howard, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
Chrestman Group, PLLC, by: Keith L. Chrestman, attorney ad
litem for minor children.
D. VAUGHT, Judge. VIRDEN and GLADWIN, JJ., agree.
D. VAUGHT, Judge
Ladonna Huddleston appeals the order entered by the
Washington County Circuit Court terminating her parental
rights to AH (born August 9, 2015) and ID (born September 29,
2010). On appeal, Huddleston argues that the circuit court
clearly erred in finding grounds supported the termination
decision and erred in finding that termination was in the
best interest of AH and ID. We affirm.
September 8, 2017, ID disclosed to law enforcement that
Huddleston's boyfriend, Will Hadley, had sexually abused
her. Huddleston told representatives of the Arkansas
Department of Human Services (DHS) that she was unaware of
the abuse and that she would protect her children. On
September 11, during a follow-up check, it was discovered
that ID had a red mark on her face. ID reported that
Huddleston had struck her as punishment for reporting
the abuse. ID further reported that Hadley had been in
Huddleston's home that morning. DHS removed ID, AH, and
JD from Huddleston's custody and
placed them in foster care. On September 13, DHS filed a
petition for emergency custody and dependency-neglect of all
three children, and the circuit court entered an order
granting the petition that
day. On October 25, the circuit court ordered DHS to place JD
in inpatient residential treatment after finding that he had
been running away from school and had disrupted two
an adjudication hearing, the court entered an order on
November 2, finding that the children were
dependent-neglected and at substantial risk of serious harm
as a result of abuse, sexual abuse, and parental unfitness.
The court ordered Huddleston to, among other things,
cooperate with DHS, participate in individual counseling,
refrain from illegal drug use, submit to random drug screens,
obtain and maintain stable housing and employment,
demonstrate the ability to protect her children, follow the
case plan and court orders, and " not let people stay at
her home— Mother needs to show that she can make GOOD
choices about what people she has around her and her
kids!!" The goal of the case was reunification.
February 21, 2018, the circuit court held a review hearing
wherein it found Huddleston had maintained contact with DHS,
participated in counseling, submitted to drug screens, tested
negative for illegal substances, secured housing and
(disability) income, and was in parenting classes. The court
ordered Huddleston to continue to comply with the case plan
and " keep other people out of the home!!" The
court found that Huddleston " is continuing to
develop her parenting skills and is working, but not yet
shown, she will adequately protect the juveniles from
March 8, the circuit court entered a review order that
discharged JD from his treatment facility and ordered a trial
home placement with Huddleston to begin on March 9. The order
provided that " [n]o one other than ...