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In the Interest of C.C.

January 9, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF C.C., MINOR CHILD, C.C., MOTHER, APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Colin Witt, District Associate Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mullins, J.

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights. AFFIRMED.

Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and Bower, JJ.

A mother appeals a juvenile court order terminating her parental rights. She argues the State failed to make reasonable reunification efforts, and the State failed to prove grounds for termination under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2011) by clear and convincing evidence. We affirm.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings

C.C. was born in 2005. The mother is married to, but separated from, C.C.'s legal father, Greg. The mother has little to no contact with C.C.'s putative father, Johnny. Neither Greg nor Johnny participated in reunification services or maintained contact with C.C. throughout these proceedings.

This case first came to the Department of Human Services (DHS)'s attention after a domestic disturbance dispute in March 2011. At the time, the mother was involved in a violent relationship with her boyfriend, Steve. Steve is a convicted felon and served time in prison for methamphetamine related offenses. Although the mother and C.C. lived with Steve, the mother asserts C.C. was not present during the incident of domestic violence. Steve was incarcerated for domestic abuse and remained incarcerated throughout much of the child-in-need-of-assistance and termination-of-parental-rights proceedings.

After the incident of domestic violence, DHS investigated allegations that the mother abused methamphetamine and alcohol while caring for C.C. The mother initially denied drug use. A DHS worker requested the mother provide a hair stat test. The mother indicated she would not pass a hair stat test but might pass a urine screen. She then admitted to using methamphetamine about once a week for several months starting with her relationship with Steve in September 2010. Prior to her relationship with Steve, the mother admitted to occasional methamphetamine use over a six-year span.

The mother voluntarily placed C.C. with Steve's brother and sister-in-law. Steve's brother indicated Steve had struggled with methamphetamine abuse for the past twenty-five years and was likely using methamphetamine while living with the mother and C.C.

The State filed a child-in-need-of-assistance petition on March 17, 2011. The juvenile court confirmed the removal and adjudicated C.C. a child in need of assistance. The juvenile court entered a disposition order continuing placement with Steve's brother and sister-in-law.

A court-ordered substance abuse evaluation recommended the mother participate in intensive outpatient treatment. In April 2011, the mother provided a urine specimen that was positive for methamphetamine. She denied any methamphetamine use.

Despite a no-contact order, the mother used a pseudonym to accept collect calls from Steve in jail. When confronted with the ongoing relationship, the mother initially reported that her cousin was coming to her home and accepting collect calls from the jail. After the mother discovered the phone calls had been recorded, she admitted to talking with Steve. DHS workers subsequently encouraged the mother to seek individual therapy to address mental health concerns.

In June 2011, Steve's brother and sister-in-law requested to be removed as a placement option for C.C. The mother had called Steve's brother and sister-in-law over thirty-five times in a single evening and was often inappropriate and threatening. At times the mother called pretending to be an ex-girlfriend and offering to sell prescription medication to Steve's brother. The juvenile court subsequently placed C.C. with DHS for purposes of foster family care placement.

At the September 2011 juvenile court review hearing, the mother attempted to introduce a forged document indicating she completed substance abuse treatment. She had not completed substance abuse treatment nor had she been consistent in providing urine specimens for drug screens. The juvenile court found the State had made ...


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