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In re M.B.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

July 24, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF M.B. JR., T.S., AND E.W., Minor Children, K.B., Mother, Appellant, M.B. SR., Father of M.B. JR., Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Cherokee County, Mary L. Timko, Associate Juvenile Judge.

A mother and father separately appeal from the termination of their parental rights.

Marvin W. Miller Jr., Cherokee, for appellant mother.

John M. Loughlin of Laughlin Law Firm, Cherokee, for appellant father.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Katherine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Ryan Koplin, County Attorney, and Kristal L. Phillips, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Lesley Rynell, Sioux City, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

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

POTTERFIELD, J.

A mother and father appeal from the termination of their parental rights. The mother appeals from the termination of her parental rights to M.B. Jr., T.S., and E.W.[1] The father of M.B. Jr., M.B. Sr., appeals the termination of his parental rights to that child only. He argues clear and convincing evidence did not support the termination of his parental rights to M.B., the trial court improperly denied his request for an extension of time prior to termination, and termination was not in M.B.'s best interests. The mother argues the court erred in not allowing her additional time towards reunification with the children, in finding termination was proper under the code, and termination was not in the best interests of the children. We affirm.

I. Facts and Proceedings.

The mother and M.B. Sr. have a long history of domestic abuse. The mother has several other children; her parental rights have been terminated previously to some of those children. A confirmed abuse report was made in 2007 after one of the children was injured as a result of a domestic abuse incident between the mother and M.B. Sr. Various other incidents of child abuse or neglect were reported, including one that the mother was giving the children inappropriate medication. In January of 2009, the mother and M.B. Sr. were convicted of animal neglect and cruelty after local police were forced to destroy several severely malnourished horses. A June 2009 abuse report was unfounded after the mother refused to cooperate with an investigation.

In October of 2009, M.B. Jr. and T.S. wandered to a neighbor's house a half-mile away; M.B. was dressed only in a diaper. Both parents were home. The mother claimed M.B. Sr. was drunk and failed to watch the children. The police officer dispatched to the house found M.B. Sr. was not intoxicated. Further investigation showed E.W. exhibited severe behavioral problems requiring psychiatric medication; however, the parents were unreliable in providing it to her so the school took over supplying her with the medication. After this incident, the State filed a petition to adjudicate the children to be children in need of assistance (CINA). The children were adjudicated CINA in January of 2010, but remained with their mother.

A dispositional hearing was held in April of 2010. The court noted the mother stated her intent to divorce M.B. Sr., but that she wanted him to continue to live with her to maintain contact with their child. In May of 2010, allegations arose that M.B. Sr. was hitting T.S., leaving marks.

A review hearing was held in October of 2010. The mother told the court that so long as M.B. Sr. was not drinking, he should have contact with M.B. Jr. A founded child abuse report against the children's paternal grandfather was also brought to the court's attention; the children were locked in the back of a ...


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