IN THE INTEREST OF Z.B. AND B.B., Minor Children, I.B., Mother, Appellant
This opinion is subject to modification or correction by the court and is not final until the time for rehearing or further review has passed.
Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Constance C. Cohen, Associate Juvenile Judge. A mother appeals from the termination of her parental rights.
Cathleen J. Siebrecht of Siebrecht 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 Andrea S. Vitzthum, Assistant County Attorney, for appellee State.
Kimberly Ayotte of The Youth Law Center, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
The mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her children, B.B., born in 2002, and Z.B., born in 2004. She contends the State failed to prove the grounds for termination of her parental rights. She also argues the juvenile court abused its discretion in not granting her additional time for continued reunification services and in not applying Iowa Code section 232.116(3)(a) and (c) (2013) to avoid termination of her parental rights. We review her claims de novo. See In re A.B., 815 N.W.2d 764, 773 (Iowa 2012).
The mother has a significant history of criminal activities, drug use, and involvement in abusive relationships. She also has a history of involvement with the Iowa Department of Human Services (Department). As early as 2006, the Department determined the mother had denied her children critical care. Two prior child-in-need-of-assistance (CINA) proceedings have been instituted involving these children. In those cases, the mother was offered and received services for reunification, including substance abuse treatment. She was able to refrain from drug use until those cases were dismissed, only to relapse thereafter. Such is the case here.
In May 2012, the mother tested positive for methamphetamine. The children were once again removed from her care and placed in the care of their paternal aunt and uncle. CINA proceedings were initiated, and the mother was again offered services for reunification. She participated in a court-ordered substance-abuse-treatment program for the fifth time, and she has refrained from use of illegal drugs since that time.
However, the mother was not honest with professionals regarding her involvement in abusive relationships with drug users throughout the case. While progressing to semi-supervised visitation with her children in April 2013, she was secretly involved with a man who was physically abusive towards her and used drugs in her house. Her visitation reverted back to being fully supervised by the Department, and the State filed a petition for the termination of her parental rights.
Following an August 2013 hearing on the State's petition, the juvenile court entered its order terminating the mother's parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(d) and (f). The court found termination of her parental rights was in the children's best interest and there were " no compelling reasons to maintain the parent/child relationships and no exceptions that militate against termination being in the children's best interest."
On appeal, the mother contends the State failed to prove grounds for terminating her parental rights. Although the mother's rights were terminated pursuant to section 232.116(1) paragraphs (d) and (f), we need only find termination proper under one ground to affirm. In re R.R.K., 544 N.W.2d 274, 276 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995). In this case, we choose to ...