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In re K.B.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 22, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF K.B. and K.B., Minor Children, T.B., Father, Appellant, B.B., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J. Tabor, Associate Juvenile Judge.

         A father and mother separately appeal from the order terminating their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          Charles F. Elles, Bettendorf, for appellant father.

          Matthew A. Quinn of the Law Office of Matthew Quinn, Bettendorf, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathrine S. Miller-Todd (until withdrawal) and Kristi Ann Traynor, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee State.

          Taryn Rena Purcell of Clemens, Walters, Conlon, Runde & Hiatt, L.L.P., Dubuque, for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          BOWER, Judge.

         A mother and father separately appeal the juvenile court decision terminating their parental rights. They claim (1) the evidence was insufficient to support termination; (2) the children had not been removed from the parents for six months; and (3) termination is not in the children's best interest. We find the evidence is sufficient to terminate, the juvenile court properly determined the children had been removed for six months, and termination is in the children's best interest. Accordingly, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The children, K.B. (born in 2013) and K.B. (born in 2014), came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) after it was alleged the mother was under the influence of controlled substances, the children lacked adequate supervision, both parents failed to obtain recommended medical treatment, the older child had a large unexplained burn which neither parent knew the cause of, the children were not being properly bathed, and marijuana was being used in the home while the children were present. Both parents tested positive for marijuana, though they denied using it in the presence of the children. The mother has been diagnosed with a mild intellectual disability and generalized anxiety disorder. The father was also diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder and bipolar II disorder.

         The parents agreed to a voluntary relative placement with a maternal aunt of the children on April 15, 2016. Approximately a month later, the maternal aunt asked for the children to be removed as she was experiencing difficulty with her pregnancy. The parents then agreed to a voluntary foster care placement on May 27, and the juvenile court placed the children in the custody of DHS on May 31.

         The parents were offered visitation but neither parent attended even half of the allotted times. Both parents gave a variety of excuses, including work, lack of transportation, and illness. However, the provider testified a "good portion" of the visits were missed because of the parents' failure to confirm them.

         Further, although substance abuse was a concern for both parents, neither attended substance-abuse treatment nor underwent a substance abuse evaluation. Both parents were, at best, sporadic in their compliance with mental health recommendations. The mother's medical benefits lapsed several times during the pendency of the case and she was unable to find coverage for services required under the parenting plan. The father's medical benefits also lapsed during the pendency of the trial, for which he had not reapplied. The parents had also not complied with the ...


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