PAUL E. DANIELSON, Justice.
Appellant Ira Busbee initiated this appeal after an order terminating his parental rights was entered by the circuit court on July 15, 2006, which additionally granted appellee Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) the power to consent to the adoption of L.B., Busbee's minor child. Busbee appealed that order to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, alleging two points of error: (1) that the circuit court erred in finding that there was sufficient evidence and that it was in the best interest of L.B. to terminate his parental rights; and (2) that the circuit court erred by not dismissing the termination petition where the termination hearing was not held within ninety days. We granted certification of this case pursuant
In its certification memo, the court of appeals suggested that the issues for this court to determine were: (1) what orders are relevant to a termination hearing under Ark. Sup.Ct. R. 6-9(c)(1)(2006), and (2) whether the mere fact of inevitable delay is sufficient good cause to override the requirement of Ark.Code Ann. § 9-27-341(d)(1)(Supp.2005) that a termination hearing be held within ninety days of the filing of the petition to terminate. We accepted the court of appeals' certification on March 6, 2007, but only with respect to what orders are relevant to a termination hearing under Ark. Sup.Ct. R. 6-9(c)(1).
The facts leading to this appeal are as follows. L.B. was adjudicated by the court to be dependent-neglected and came into DHHS's care in April of 2005. The mother's parental rights as to L.B. were terminated on December 7, 2005, by an order filed on January 4, 2006. At that point, the goal remained reunification with Busbee due to his partial compliance and progress. A permanency planning hearing was held on March 8, 2006, at which time the circuit court found that it was in L.B.'s best interest that the permanency goal be adoption.
Pertinent to our review is DHHS's allegation, in its responsive brief, that Busbee's record is deficient because he did not include all relevant orders in the record. We note that, on July 1, 2006, this court adopted new court rules for appeals in dependency-neglect cases.
DHHS contends that the circuit court considered evidence such as previous findings, orders, and testimony in its determination that there was clear and convincing evidence to terminate Busbee's parental
We construe our rules using the same means that are used to interpret statutes. See Aikens v. State, 368 Ark. 641, 249 S.W.3d 788 (2007). First, the rule is to be construed just as it reads, giving the words their ordinary and usually accepted meaning in common language. See id. There is no need to resort to rules of statutory construction when the language is plain and unambiguous. See id.
Ark. Sup.Ct. R. 6-9(c)(1) makes it clear that any petitions, pleadings, and orders relevant to the termination hearing are to be included in the record, as well as all exhibits that are actually entered into evidence at the hearing. For the circuit court to find, after the termination hearing, that it is in the best interest of the child involved to terminate the parental rights, it is required to find so by clear and convincing evidence. See Linker-Flores v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 364 Ark. 224, 217 S.W.3d 107 (2005). Clear and convincing evidence is that degree of proof that will produce in the fact-finder a firm conviction as to the allegation sought to be established. See id.
We have observed that when a termination order is appealed, the reviewing court must determine if the circuit court was clearly erroneous in finding that termination of the parental rights was proven in the best interest of the child by clear and convincing evidence. See id. A reviewing court cannot possibly determine whether a circuit court's decision was clearly erroneous without the ability to review each order upon which a circuit court has based its final decision. A clearly-erroneous standard of review expressly contemplates a review of the entire record. See Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of United States, Inc., 466 U.S. 485, 104 S.Ct. 1949, 80 L.Ed.2d 502 (1984).
For purposes of reviewing an order terminating parental rights, our rules limit the "entire record" to the transcript of the termination hearing from which the termination order on appeal arose; any petitions, pleadings, and orders relevant to the termination hearing; and all exhibits entered into evidence at the termination hearing. See Ark. Sup.Ct. R. 6-9(c)(1). Here, the circuit court, at the termination hearing, specifically incorporated into the record all the pleadings and exhibits from the adjudication forward. Therefore, the petitions, pleadings, and orders from the adjudication forward were clearly relevant to the hearing and to the final decision of the circuit court. Thus, they should have been included in the record for the reviewing court.
As previously noted, this case was certified to us by the court of appeals, and we accepted the certification for the sole purpose of addressing what constitutes orders relevant to a termination hearing. We have determined that all orders relied upon by the circuit court in making its final decision to terminate parental rights are relevant. In addition, we have held that the burden is on the appellant to bring up a proper record to demonstrate that the circuit court was in error. See Young v. Young, 288 Ark. 33, 701 S.W.2d 369 (1986). Because Busbee has failed to include in the record all orders relevant to the termination hearing, we find that he failed to meet his burden of bringing up a
GLAZE, J., would remand with directions to dismiss.