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In re K.K.H.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 10, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF K.K.H. and K.A.M., Minor Children, K.M., Mother, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Wapello County, William S. Owens, Associate Juvenile Judge.

A mother appeals an order terminating her parental rights to her two young children.

Mary Baird Krafka of Krafka Law Office, Ottumwa, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Lisa Holl, County Attorney, and Seth Harrington, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Cynthia Hucks, Ottumwa, attorney and guardian litem for minor children.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

TABOR, J.

Kimberly, the mother of three-year-old K.H. and two-year-old K.M., appeals a juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights to both children. She contends the State did not establish the ground for termination by clear and convincing evidence and termination is not in the best interest of her children, both of whom have special needs.

Since the children were originally adjudicated in need of assistance (CINA), Kimberly has not consistently visited them, has largely refused services to address her substance abuse, has continued to engage in criminal behavior, and lacks stable housing or job prospects. Because Kimberly shows no signs of possessing the capacity to care for K.H. and K.M., termination of her legal ties is in the best interest of these young children so they may move toward a permanent home.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

Kimberly and Jimmy are the parents of K.H. and K.M. Both children have been identified with special needs. K.M. is being monitored for possible autism and Prader-Willi syndrome, which may account for his eating disorder. K.H. has experienced developmental delays and may have been affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.

In October 2011, the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with the family after reports of adverse living conditions and substance abuse. Kimberly and K.H. tested positive for methamphetamine, and Kimberly's former paramour, Freddie, admitted daily methamphetamine use. Following a DHS assessment, the children stayed with Kimberly's mother. On January 25, 2012, the children's maternal grandmother requested both children be placed in foster care. Kimberly consented to the placement. Both children have remained with the same foster family for the duration of the case.

On March 20, 2012, the juvenile court adjudicated K.H. and K.M. as CINA, under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2), (n), and (o) (2011).

Jimmy has been absent throughout the proceedings, and DHS has been unable to contact him, despite diligent efforts. Throughout the CINA case DHS has offered Kimberly and Freddie many services, which they have almost entirely refused. Both Kimberly's and Freddie's substance abuse assessments recommended they participate in outpatient treatment, but neither followed through with the recommendation. Kimberly has not arranged for individual counseling and has not participated in any services to help her regain custody of her children. Since the children were removed from her care more than fourteen months ago, Kimberly has had no more than twenty ...


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