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In re B.L.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 5, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF B.L., Minor Child, C.T., Mother, Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision has been referenced in a "Decisions Without Published Opinions" table in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Monona County, Timothy T. Jarman, District Associate Judge. A mother appeals from the order terminating her parental rights.

Molly Vakulskas Joly of vakulskas Law Firm, P.C., Sioux City, for appellant mother.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, Kathrine S. Miller-Todd and Janet L. Hoffman, Assistant Attorneys General, Michael P. Jensen, County Attorney, and Ian A. McConeghey, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.

Marchelle Denker, Sioux City, for minor child.

Considered by Danilson, C.J., Vaitheswaran, J., and Mahan, S.J.[*]

OPINION

MAHAN, S.J.

A mother appeals a juvenile court decision terminating her parental rights under Iowa Code sections 232.116(1)(e) and (l) (2013). We determine there was clear and convincing evidence she had not maintained significant and meaningful contact with the child or made reasonable efforts to resume care of the child. There is sufficient evidence in the record to support termination of the mother's parental rights under section 232.116(1)(e). We also determine it would not be in the child's best interests to delay termination of the mother's parental rights. We affirm the decision of the juvenile court.

I. Background Facts & Proceedings

Christie and Dustin are the parents of B.L., who was born in 2008. B.L. was previously adjudicated to be a child in need of assistance (CINA), and that case was dismissed on May 16, 2012. The relationship between the parents contained incidents of domestic violence, and Christie has a history of using methamphetamine. Christie and B.L. were evicted from their home in September 2012 and did not have a permanent residence. B.L. was removed from Christie's care on October 2, 2012. B.L. was initially placed with his maternal grandparents and then moved to foster care.

A new CINA petition was filed, and the juvenile court determined B.L. was a CINA under Iowa Code section 232.2(6)(b), (c)(2), and (n) (2011). Christie had a drug test on October 18, 2012, which was positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine. She was scheduled to begin a residential substance abuse treatment program in January 2013, but did not show up. As a result, she lost her place in the program. She entered a different treatment program at the end of February 2013. She was successfully discharged from that program but did not follow through on recommended outpatient treatment.

Christie's last visit with B.L. was on April 23, 2013. After that time, she had only minimal contact with the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) and no longer participated in services.

The State filed a petition for termination of parental rights on August 29, 2013. On September 18, 2013, Christie had a new substance abuse evaluation, which again recommended outpatient treatment. The termination hearing was held the next day, September 19, 2013. The day after that, ...


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