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In re A.R.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

February 19, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF A.R., Minor Child, C.D., 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 Cohen, Associate Juvenile Judge. A mother appeals from the order terminating her parental rights.

Randall Jackson, Des Moines, for appellant mother.

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

Michelle Saveraid of the Youth Law Center, Des Moines, for minor child.

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

OPINION

DANILSON, C.J.

A mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her child, A.R.[1] The mother refuses to acknowledge the significance of her substance abuse problem and has failed to follow through with services offered to her, even after having her parental rights to her other children terminated. Although the mother was not diagnosed with a mental illness, she has been emotionally distraught and overwhelmed during the proceedings. Unfortunately, she refused therapy to improve her emotional stability and remove this barrier to reunification until after the first day of the termination hearing. The facts support termination, and we affirm.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

A.R. was born in March 2013, but the Iowa Department of Human Services' (DHS) involvement with the family began in May 2010. The mother's parental rights to her other two children were terminated in December 2012. In the order terminating the mother's parental rights to A.R., the court described the mother's history with the court, noting:

The protective problems that led to the siblings' removals and subsequent termination of parental rights involved unresolved substance issues, mental health related issues, and criminal conduct. Because these issues were unresolved, and due to circumstances of [A.R.'s] birth, . . . two days after [A.R.'s] birth, the Court signed an order of temporary removal, placing [A.R.] in the temporary legal custody of [his maternal grandparents]. These custodians had subsequently adopted [A.R.'s] two siblings.

A.R. was adjudicated a child in need of assistance (CINA) in May 2013, pursuant to Iowa Code sections 232.2(6)(c)(2) and (n) (2013). In its findings, the juvenile court stated:

[The mother] admits having used THC early in her pregnancy (stopping use when learning of her pregnancy), and plans to attend inpatient treatment. The Court is not convinced that she has participated in random drug screens. Her appointments with her probation officer, during which she provides drug screens, are scheduled in advance. She has ...

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