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In re Interest of L.B.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 12, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF L.B., Minor Child, S.B., Mother, Appellant, W.B., Father, Appellant

Editorial Note:

This decision is published in table format in the North Western Reporter.

Appeal fro the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, District Associate Judge. The mother and father separately appeal the juvenile court's termination of their parental rights to their child, L.B.

Tammi Blackstone of Harrison & Dietz-Kilen, P.L.C., Des Moines, for appellant mother.

Steven E. Clarke of Clarke Law Office, West Des Moines, for appellant father.

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

Charles Fuson of the Youth Law Center, Des Moines, attorney and guardian ad litem for minor child.

Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

OPINION

VOGEL, P.J.

The mother and father separately appeal the juvenile court's termination of their parental rights to their child, L.B. The father asserts the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence grounds to terminate under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b), (d), (g), and ( l ) (2013). The mother also claims the State failed to prove grounds for termination under paragraphs (d), (g), and ( l ). Both parents contend termination was not in L.B.'s best interest. Neither parent asserts the State failed to prove grounds to terminate under paragraph (e). We therefore affirm the termination of both the mother's and the father's parental rights under Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e) and affirm the juvenile court's finding that termination was in the child's best interest.

L.B. was born in December 2010. He first came to the attention of the department of human services (DHS) because he was born while the mother was incarcerated on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. L.B. was placed in foster care. Upon her release from prison in April 2011, the mother participated in services and remained sober, enabling L.B. to be returned to her care in November 2011. However, due to the mother's and father's unresolved substance abuse issues with methamphetamine and ongoing criminal activity, the child was removed from the home in November 2012. He was initially placed in a relative's home but was then placed in foster care.

The following services were offered to the mother and father during the pendency of the proceeding: family team meetings; post removal conferences; substance abuse evaluation and treatment; mental health evaluation; individual therapy; probation services; parent partner; family safety, risk, and permanency services; urine analysis; and parenting classes.

The mother initially participated in some services.[1] However, she failed to complete a substance abuse treatment course, and on December 29, 2012, her urine analysis tested positive for methamphetamine. Her probation was revoked in mid-January 2013, prompting her to flee the county to avoid arrest. After she was apprehended, she participated in inpatient treatment from February 2013 until March 4, 2013. She entered a guilty plea for theft of a vehicle and was incarcerated from April 2013 until November 2013. The mother has not seen L.B. since April 2013 and has only visited the child a total of thirteen times since he was removed from her care in November 2012. At the time of the termination hearing, she was living with a friend pending her acceptance into the Clearview Recovery program. However, she claims she has been sober since March 2013.

The father also relapsed with regard to his methamphetamine use in November 2012. He subsequently lost his job, did not participate in treatment or therapy, and did not comply with the terms of his probation. He was incarcerated during the month of December 2012 for probation violations, and upon his release was again arrested on August 7, 2013, on new criminal charges as well as a probation violation. The father has refused to cooperate with urine analysis ...


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