Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Gary K. Anderson, District Associate Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Danilson, J.
The mother of two children and the father of T.K.L.P.-W. each appeal from the termination of their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.
The mother of two children and the father of T.K.L.P.-W. appeal from the termination of their parental rights. We affirm on both appeals because statutory grounds for termination exist, termination will allow the children permanency and stability, and no factor precludes termination.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings.
Marie is the mother of two children, M.M.L.L.-W., born in August 2009, and T.K.L.P.-W., born in February 2008. Nicholas is the father of T.K.L.P.-W. He has been in prison since February 2011 as a result of major probation violations while at a residential correctional facility (RCF). He has not seen or communicated with T.K.L.P.-W. since going to prison.
Marie and her children began voluntarily participating in services with the Department of Human Services (DHS) in June 2010 due to positive drug screens given by Marie and the father of M.M.L.L.-W.*fn1 during a child protective assessment. Anne Matthai, DHS social work case manager for family, worked with Marie and Nicholas beginning in June 2010. Those services were designed to assist Marie with maintaining her sobriety, improving her parenting skills, and obtaining housing. At the time, Nicholas was residing in either a RCF or a county jail. Nicholas was aware of the child's involvement with services and he worked with Boys Town family consultant Lacy Dube from August 2010 to January 2011. He was also able to exercise some visitation with T.K.L.P.-W., supervised by Nicholas's grandparents.
The children were removed from their mother's care in May 2011 due to Marie's continued methamphetamine usage, as well as drug use and allegations of physical and sexual abuse by M.M.L.L.-W.'s father. The children both tested positive with "extremely high levels of methamphetamine in their hair follicles," which led to Marie and M.M.L.L.-W.'s father being charged with two counts of felony child endangerment. Marie received a deferred judgment and probation on those charges. However, her probation was later revoked and she was sent to a RCF.
The children were adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA) on May 25, 2011. A petition for termination of parental rights was filed on February 24, 2012. At the time the petition was filed, Marie was in a RCF.
By the time of the termination hearing on May 23, 2012, Marie was in jail having tested positive for THC (a marijuana metabolite) eight days earlier. She acknowledged she had failed to appear for drug testing in September through November 2011 because she was using methamphetamine, and that only during her incarceration had she maintained sobriety. Social work case manager Anne Matthai testified Marie had a pattern that when Marie is under guidance or supervision of a-of the district court or a force that is more powerful than DHS, she tends to comply with the-what she's supposed to do, but once [she] is released, she resorts back to her normal-or her usual behaviors of drug use and make herself unavailable.
Marie was twenty-one years old at the time of the hearing and stated she started using methamphetamine at age seventeen. She testified she was completing drug treatment, had a job, had located an apartment, and would be released from the RCF in about a month if permitted to return to the facility after her incarceration in the county jail. Marie testified she had not smoked marijuana and did not know why she tested positive for THC. She also stated that if the children could not be with her, the best place for them was with her sister Barb.
Nicholas was in prison at the time of the termination hearing. He testified he had not been aware of the termination proceedings and wished to be given an opportunity to parent after he was to be released in September 2012. He stated he did talk with his grandmother, who told him about her visits with T.K.L.P.-W. and had given him pictures. He stated he did not make sufficient money in prison to call or mail letters or provide support to his child.
Both children have remained in the care of Marie's sister, Barb, since May 2011 and are doing well in that placement. Barb is ready and willing to adopt them.
The juvenile court terminated Marie's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b) (abandonment), (d) (court has previously adjudicated the child a CINA and parent offered services, but circumstance continues despite services), (e) (parent has not maintained significant and meaningful contact with the child), (h) (child three or younger who has been adjudicated CINA has been out of parent's custody for last six consecutive months and cannot be returned at present),*fn2 (i) (child was in imminent danger and services would not correct conditions), and (l) (parent has a ...