IN THE INTEREST OF J.S. and R.D., Minor Children, A.S., Mother, Appellant, R.D., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Marshall County, Paul G.
Crawford, District Associate Judge.
mother and father appeal separately from the order
terminating their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.
Breanna M. Nelson of Grimes, Buck, Schoell, Beach &
Hitchins, Marshalltown, for appellant mother.
L. Wilson-Moore of Wilson Law Firm, Marshalltown, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and David M. Van Compernolle,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Cowdrey of State Public Defender's Office, Marshalltown,
for minor children.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
mother and father separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights. The mother claims she received deficient
notice concerning the termination hearing and exceptions
should have been applied to preclude termination. The father
claims he should have been granted an extension of time and
exceptions should have been applied. We find the termination
of the mother's rights was not precluded by failure to
give proper statutory notice, the father should not be
granted an extension of six months, and no exceptions should
be applied to either party. We affirm the juvenile
court's termination of parental rights.
Background Facts and Proceedings
was born in July 2011, and R.D. was born in October
2012. The children were brought to the attention
of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) due to the
mother's inability to properly supervise the children.
During DHS's assessment, the mother assaulted the
maternal grandmother in front of the children. A no-contact
order was issued and the children were placed in the care of
the maternal grandmother. A child-in-need-of-assistance
(CINA) petition was filed for both children and both the
mother and father stipulated to the petition. The mother was
uninvolved during much of the CINA and termination
proceedings and did not contact her attorney between the CINA
adjudication and the dispositional hearing.
permanency hearing was held February 25, 2016, at which
neither the father nor mother appeared. The parents'
attorneys reported they had had no contact with either
parent. After a DHS worker testified neither parent had
responded to telephone calls or letters seeking their
involvement in services offered to improve parenting and
address mental-health and substance-abuse concerns, a
petition for termination of parental rights was filed.
mother entered substance-abuse treatment in Waterloo, but was
unsuccessfully discharged. She then participated in
outpatient treatment in Marshalltown and worked part time
while living at a Youth and Shelter Services facility. The
mother missed a small number of drug tests and admitted to a
relapse a few weeks prior to the termination hearing. During
the period of her relapse she admitted to visiting the
children but testified she did not feel under the influence
at the time of the visit. The mother also tested positive for
methamphetamine and marijuana near the time of the
father testified he had previously used methamphetamine two
or three times a week, but he had not used the drug since
December 2015. He also testified the extent of his
interaction with R.D. in the year leading up to the
termination hearing was about four hours total. Between
January and March 2016, he stopped by the maternal
grandmother's house four or five times and talked with
R.D. for ten to fifteen minutes on each occasion. He
testified he stopped visiting because he felt uncomfortable
at the ...