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In re E.M.

Court of Appeal of Iowa

November 6, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF E.M., Minor Child, A.M., Mother, Appellant.

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

A.M. appeals the juvenile court's order arguing there is insufficient evidence in the record to support the termination of her parental rights.

John C. Heinicke of Kragnes & Associates, Des Moines, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd, Assistant Attorney General, John P. Sarcone, County Attorney, and Faye Jenkins, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee.

M. Kathryn Miller, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

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

BOWER, J.

A.M. appeals the juvenile court's order arguing there is insufficient evidence in the record to support the termination of her parental rights. We find there is sufficient evidence to support the termination of A.M.'s parental rights. We affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings

A child in need of assistance petition (CINA) was filed on January 31, 2012, alleging E.M. to be a child in need of assistance. The petition alleged the mother, A.M., had placed the child in danger after the mother assaulted her then boyfriend in the presence of the child. The petition alleged A.M. threw a lamp and Christmas decorations which nearly struck the child. At the time of the petition, A.M. had been arrested, jailed, released, and jailed again after violating the terms of a no-contact order. The child was removed from the mother's care and, following a hearing, the mother's parental rights were terminated on August 3, 2013.[1]

After removal of the child from her care, A.M. initially engaged in regular visitation with the child. A.M. has struggled, however, to maintain consistent living arrangements or to find regular employment. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has struggled to take advantage of treatment options. A.M. has been offered parenting classes which she has attended sporadically. By May 2012, her visitations with E.M. had become inconsistent, and she was not regularly participating in services. She continued to have no contact with E.M. through August 15, 2012. On September 5, 2012, E.M.'s therapist did not believe visitation was in the child's best interests. A.M. eventually began participating in services, though visitation did not resume until October 2012. Participation in mental health services did not continue, however, and A.M. continued to bounce between residences and jobs.

Visitation continued on an occasional basis early in 2013; however E.M. displayed aggressive behaviors after visits. It is alleged A.M. had been telling the child during visits that the child did not need to listen to the foster parents because the child would be returned to A.M.

On May 13, 2012, it was reported A.M. had missed six recent visits; she had not been attending all necessary parenting classes and was only working occasionally. The Department of Human Services (DHS) reported on June 5, 2013, that A.M. was missing therapy appointments, refusing ...


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