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In the Interest of H.B.

May 15, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF H.B., MINOR CHILD, N.D., MOTHER, APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Louise M. Jacobs, District Associate Judge.

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

A mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights. AFFIRMED.

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

A mother appeals from the juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights to five-year-old H.B.*fn1 We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

This family most recently came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services in April 2011, following reports of the parents' continued substance abuse (methamphetamine),*fn2 eviction from their housing,*fn3 and cessation of compliance with DHS services. H.B. was removed from her parents' care and placed in the care of her paternal grandmother. Caseworkers noted concerns about the child's bond with the parents and observed the child "did not appear to be upset about the removal from [the] parents." On May 16, 2011, the child was adjudicated to be in need of assistance.

The mother continued to receive an array of rehabilitative services. In September 2011, she began treatment at the House of Mercy. Despite her struggles in the program, DHS caseworkers had nearly completed a transition plan to reunite her with H.B. when she was unsuccessfully discharged in November 2011.

Within a few months, the mother began treatment at Clearview Recovery. H.B. was placed with the mother at the program in February 2012. The placement was short-lived; in July 2012, the mother was unsuccessfully discharged from the program, following her use of a cell phone against the program's rules. The mother had used the phone in attempt to contact and renew her relationship with the father; when he rejected her, she began cutting herself. Clearview providers did not believe they could assure her safety and meet her "more significant" mental health needs. In addition to her history of self-destructive behavior, the mother had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder.*fn4

The child was placed with her maternal great-grandmother. Because the maternal great-grandmother was not able to adopt H.B., H.B. was later placed with her maternal cousin. The maternal cousin is able and willing to adopt H.B.; the child has remained in her care since November 2012.

The mother did not return to treatment until September 2012, when she began out-patient treatment at Broadlawns Medical Center. She successfully completed the program.*fn5 At discharge, it was recommended that she attend NA or AA, obtain a sponsor, and continue seeing her mental health therapist. The mother has not followed through with the recommendations, aside from seeing the therapist once in November 2012 and once in January 2013.

The State filed a petition to terminate the mother's parental rights on December 5, 2012. The termination hearing was held on January 31, 2013. The record before the juvenile court indicated the mother had made recent efforts to establish sobriety, but concerns remained regarding her ability to provide positive parenting and a safe environment for the child on any sort of long-term basis.

Following the termination hearing, the court entered its order terminating the mother's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code sections 232.116(1)(d), (f),

(g), (i), and (l ). The mother ...


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