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In re R.C.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

October 2, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF R.C., C.C., AND G.J., Minor Children, D.J., Mother, Appellant.

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

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her three children.

Jeffrey S. Lavallee of Lavallee Law Firm, Des Moines, for appellant mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Annette Taylor, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

ConGarry Williams of the Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.

VAITHESWARAN, P.J.

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her three children, born in 2007, 2011, and 2012. She contends (A) the juvenile court should have extended the time for reunification with her children and (B) termination was detrimental to the children due to the closeness of the parent-child relationship.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

In February 2012, police and other authorities jointly executed a search warrant on a Des Moines apartment. The mother was inside with her two children. Her third child had yet to be born.

Officers discovered one of the children within three feet of crack cocaine. They also found a loaded firearm in the dresser of one of the bedrooms. The mother was arrested and jailed for possession of crack cocaine and for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The two children were removed from the mother's custody, and the mother stipulated to their adjudication as children in need of assistance. The children were eventually placed with a relative, where they remained through the balance of the proceedings.

The mother pled guilty to possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of crack cocaine with intent to deliver. Following imposition of sentence, she was transferred to a medical facility under the purview of the department of corrections pending delivery of her third child. After the birth, the child was removed from the mother's custody and placed with the same relative who was caring for the older two children. The mother was sent to prison.

Between February 2012 and the termination hearing in March 2013, the mother had one in-person contact with her children, which occurred after she was imprisoned. While the department of human services initially allowed her to have telephone contact with the older two children, that ...


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