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In re A.D.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 19, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF A.D. AND K.D., Minor Children, P.F., Mother, Appellant

Editorial Note:

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 the termination of her parental rights to two children.

Thomas P. Graves of Graves Law Firm, P.C., Clive, for appellant mother.

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

Michelle R. Saveraid of the Youth Law Center, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor children.

Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Vaitheswaran and Potterfield, JJ.

OPINION

VAITHESWARAN, J.

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her two children, born in 2005 and 2006. She contends (I) the State did not prove the grounds for termination cited by the juvenile court, (II) the juvenile court should have granted her a six-month extension to work towards reunification, (III) termination was not in the children's best interests given the bond they shared with her, and (IV) the juvenile court should have denied the termination petition because the children were placed with a relative.

I., II.

The juvenile court terminated the mother's parental rights pursuant to several statutory grounds. We may affirm the termination decision if we find clear and convincing evidence to support any of the cited grounds. In re S.R., 600 N.W.2d 63, 64 (Iowa Ct. App. 1999). On our de novo review, we are persuaded that termination was warranted under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) (2013) (requiring proof of several elements, including proof that child cannot be returned to parent's custody). See id . (setting forth the standard of review).

The children were removed from the parents' custody in mid-2012 based on the parents' methamphetamine use. The department of human services also reported a history of domestic violence between the parents. The mother was referred to a substance abuse treatment facility, successfully completed extended outpatient treatment, and began receiving continuing care services. She was discharged for failing to share critical information with program coordinators. Later, her therapist discontinued services based on the mother's failure to attend several appointments.

The mother engaged the services of another therapist but terminated those sessions after a month. While her stated reason was cost, she did not contact the department for financial assistance after the charges were brought to her attention. She also did not make alternate arrangements with another service provider until shortly before the termination hearing, and had yet to participate in a therapy session with the new provider.

Commendably, the mother attended three domestic violence awareness classes, participated in drug support group meetings twice a week, and tested negative for illegal substances on the four consecutive drug screens taken before the termination hearing. However, she failed to appear for twelve random drug tests between ...


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