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In re M.R.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

October 2, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF M.R. JR., Minor Child, A.T., Mother, Appellant.

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

A mother appeals from the order terminating her parental rights.

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

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, Thomas J. Ferguson, County Attorney, and Kathleen A. Hahn, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Danilson and Tabor, JJ.

DANILSON, J.

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her son, M.R.[1]M.R.'s mother has failed to participate in services as ordered, to attend M.R.'s medical appointments, to establish a permanent residence, and to secure employment. Because she has not shown she is ready to be a full-time mother, we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

M.R. was born prematurely and with multiple health concerns in November 2011.[2] The mother was a sixteen-year-old minor at the time of M.R.'s birth.

Medical personnel became concerned M.R.'s health problems were not being monitored properly by his parents and believed his lack of adequate weight gain was due to denial of critical care. As a result, the personnel contacted the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) in May 2012. DHS began monitoring the family.

Although the mother was cooperative with DHS in the beginning, she failed to exhibit understanding of the severity of M.R.'s health concerns. His doctors explained that he had to be on oxygen at all times in order to facilitate his necessary weight gain and further development, but the mother reported to DHS M.R. no longer had to be on oxygen and cancelled the service for it.[3] M.R.'s doctors explained this failure could affect every part of his body, including his brain growth and development. DHS then completed a founded child abuse assessment in June, 2012.

From June to September 2012, the mother changed residences several times. M.R. continued to have issues with weight gain. Although the mother agreed to move in with her parents and keep a written log of M.R.'s feeding schedule, she did not comply with either requirement.

On September 6, 2012, the mother agreed to a safety plan, which put M.R. in the care of his maternal grandmother. The mother agreed to remove M.R. from his grandmother's care only with her knowledge and agreement.

On September 14, 2012, the grandmother reported to DHS the mother had violated the safety plan. The in-home nurse also noted that M.R. had lost weight. At that time, M.R. was considered failure to thrive and removed from the mother's care. He was placed in his grandmother's care.

On October 16, 2012, M.R. was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(c)(2) (2011). At the request of his parents, M.R. was removed from his grandmother's care and placed in family foster care. The mother was ordered to undergo a substance abuse evaluation and comply with any requests for drug testing. She was also ordered to complete a ...


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