Elba Ganter v. Arkansas Department of Health & Human Services
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ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS
NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION
D.P. MARSHALL JR., JUDGE
7 March 2007
AN APPEAL FROM THE UNION
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
HONORABLE EDWIN A. KEATON,
OF HEALTH &
Elba Ganter appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children, J.G.
and C.G. Ganter argues that the circuit court erred because she complied with all the
requirements in her Department of Health and Human Services case plan and
remedied the conditions that prompted DHHS to remove her children from her home.
We affirm the circuit court’s judgment.
The statute requires the circuit court to find, by clear and convincing evidence,
that termination of parental rights is in the children’s best interest and that at least one
additional statutory ground for termination exists. Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)
(Supp. 2005). Here the circuit court found that termination was in both children’s
best interest and found two additional grounds for termination: (1) that J.G. and C.G.
have resided outside Ganter’s home for more than one year and, despite a meaningful
effort by DHHS to rehabilitate the home and correct the conditions that caused
removal, Ganter has not remedied those conditions, Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27341(b)(3)(B)(i); and (2) that Ganter’s psychological problems render the children’s
return to her home contrary to their health, safety, or welfare and that Ganter has
manifested an incapacity or indifference to remedying her psychological problems
despite DHHS’s offer of family services, Ark. Code Ann. § 9-27-341(b)(3)(B)(vii).
On appeal, Ganter challenges the circuit court’s finding that she has not
provided a suitable living environment for J.G. and C.G. She points out that two of
her DHHS caseworkers testified that she had complied with all the requirements in
her case plan. In fact, DHHS ordered one caseworker to recommend that Ganter’s
parental rights be terminated even though the caseworker did not agree that
termination was appropriate. But Ganter does not challenge the circuit court’s
alternative ground for termination—that she has been indifferent to, or unable to
remedy, her psychological problems.
Therefore, even if Ganter were to prevail about the improvements in her home,
we cannot reverse in light of her failure to attack the circuit court’s independent,
alternative basis for its decision. Pugh v. State, 351 Ark. 5, 11, 89 S.W.3d 909, 912
By not addressing the circuit court’s findings that her unresolved
psychological problems adversely affect her children, Ganter has conceded this point
on appeal. Benedict v. Arkansas Department of Human Services, __ Ark. App. __,
__ S.W.3d __ (November 1, 2006).
In Benedict, we reversed an order terminating parental rights even though
Benedict abandoned several grounds for termination on appeal. Id. We did so
because we agreed with Benedict’s argument that terminating her parental rights was
not in her children’s best interest. Id. Unlike Benedict, however, Ganter only
challenges one specific ground for termination. She does not challenge the circuit
court’s threshold finding that termination is in her children’s best interest.
Because Ganter has neither challenged each alternative ground for termination,
nor directly challenged the circuit court’s finding that termination was in her
children’s best interest, we affirm.
GLOVER and BAKER, JJ., agree.