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In re K.S.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

August 7, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF K.S., Minor Child, A.S., Mother, Appellant, R.S., Father, Appellant.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Daniel L. Block, Associate Juvenile Judge.

A mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights.

Nina Forcier of Nydle & Forcier, P.L.L.C, Waterloo, for appellant mother.

Thomas Harbaugh, Waterloo, for appellant father.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Janet L. Hoffman, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Kathleen Hahn, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Linnea Nicol of the Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Waterloo, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Doyle, J J.

DOYLE, J.

A mother appeals from the juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights to seven-year-old K.S. We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

This family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services in November 2010 after a founded child protective assessment determined the father was responsible for physically abusing the child. The mother eventually obtained a no contact order against the father and he moved to Arkansas. The mother and father are married; their relationship "permeate[s]" with domestic violence.

The mother has a lengthy history of substance abuse, mental illness, and unhealthy relationships. An extensive array of services has been offered to the mother to eliminate the need for DHS involvement. Unfortunately, the mother "lacks insight into her own significant mental health needs and has limited coping and decision making skills." In February 2012, due to chronic unsanitary and unsafe conditions in the mother's home and the mother's substance abuse and unmet mental health needs, the child was removed from her care.[1] The child was adjudicated in need of assistance in March 2012.

Between March 2012 and August 2012, there were three child protective assessments founded with the child as the victim and the mother as the perpetrator.[2] The mother was ordered to participate in substance abuse treatment and mental health counseling. She did not consistently avail herself of these services. The mother is currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and depression. Her history of mental illness has included hospitalizations and episodes of suicidal ideation.

The father returned to Iowa in September 2012. He participated in visitation with the child until November 2012, when visitations were suspended at the request of the child's therapist. Visitations with the mother were also suspended around this same time at the request of the child's therapist. K.S. has significant mood and behavioral difficulties. All ...


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