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In re D.L.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 10, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF D.L., Minor Child, D.O.W., Mother, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Rachael E. Seymour, District Associate Judge.

A mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights. AFFIRMED. Jane M. White of Jane M. White Law Office, Des Moines, for appellant mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Katherine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Christina Gonzalez, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Michelle Saveraid of the Youth Law Center, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

DOYLE, P.J.

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child. We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

The mother, then a minor, gave birth to D.L. in April 2011. In October 2011, the mother consented to temporary removal of the child from her care after she left the child on a doorstep of a pseudo-relative to care for the child. At that time, the mother was living on the street and using illegal drugs. A child in need of assistance (CINA) petition was filed. Thereafter, the child was placed in foster care after the pseudo-relative tested positive for cocaine.

Although the mother had some initial bumps in the road, she made progress while residing at a treatment facility. By May 2012, the child was returned to her care on the condition that she continue to reside at the treatment facility. However, the child's placement with the mother was short-lived. By August 2012, the mother left the treatment facility and agreed the child should be again placed in foster care. Although she was encouraged to reconsider her decision and return to the program, the mother declined. Her visits with the child dwindled, and she went from attending all of her visits in August 2012 to having only one visit with the child between October 2012 and February 2013.

In November 2012, the State filed its petition for termination of the mother's parental rights. A hearing on the petition was held in February 2013. Thereafter, the juvenile court entered its order terminating the mother's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1) paragraphs (b), (d), (e), and (h) (2013).

The mother now appeals. She contends the juvenile court erred in finding reasonable efforts for reunification had been made, the State proved the grounds for termination by clear and convincing evidence, additional time for continued reunification services was not warranted, and termination of her parental rights was in the child's best interests. We review her claims de novo. See In re P.L., 778 N.W.2d 33, 40 (Iowa 2010).

III. Discussion.

A. Reasonable Efforts.


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