IN THE INTEREST OF S.M., Minor child, S.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Deborah F.
Minot, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals from an order terminating her parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2016). AFFIRMED.
R. Wiezorek of Jacobson, Johnson, and Wiezorek, P.L.C., Cedar
Rapids, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen W. Kraemer,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Anthony Haughton of Linn County Advocate, Inc., Cedar Rapids,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Mullins, P.J., and Bower and McDonald, JJ.
the mother of S.M., appeals from the district court's
order terminating her parental rights pursuant to Iowa Code
section 232.116(1)(h) (2016). Our review is de novo. See
In re A.M., 843 N.W.2d 100, 110 (Iowa 2014). The
statutory framework and burden of proof are both well
established and need not be repeated herein. See
id.; In re M.S., 889 N.W.2d 675, 679 (Iowa Ct.
tested positive for THC at his birth in January 2016. The
Iowa Department of Human Services (IDHS) became involved with
the family. IDHS asked the mother to go to
substance-abuse treatment, obtain an evaluation of her mental
health, and get a drug evaluation. She complied with all
March 8, 2016, IDHS received a report Sarrina had left S.M.
alone with a sex offender, her then-paramour Pierre, in an
apartment. Sarrina does not deny doing so but argues she only
left the child alone while she ran across the hall to the
landlord's office to pay her rent and get a receipt and
was not gone for more than a few seconds. Sarrina believed
Pierre was at work at the time. During the time she was gone,
law enforcement responsible for checking on sex offenders
came to the apartment complex. She had retrieved S.M. by the
time the police officers confronted her but they had observed
she did not have the child with her when she entered the
apartment. An IDHS employee met with Sarrina to discuss
implementing a safety plan. Then, and at trial, Sarrina
defended Pierre, arguing offenders are frequently placed on
the sex offender registry for frivolous offenses. The
employee informed Sarrina removal was an option if a safety
plan was not put in place. By the time the employee had
gotten back to her office, Sarrina had called the employee to
apologize and agree to cooperate with services, but the
employee did not believe Sarrina was sincere.
next day, March 9, IDHS came to remove the child from
Sarrina's care. Sarrina refused to release the child.
IDHS engaged the services of law enforcement to remove the
child from Sarrina's arms. According to the petition for
termination of Sarrina's parental rights, Sarrina
attempted to bite a police officer. As a result, she was
charged with felony child endangerment, interference with
official acts, and assault on a person in certain
occupations. S.M. was removed from her care and placed in a
remained involved in the case. At a family team meeting on
July 8, she was employed, was participating in therapy, had
completed a mental-health evaluation, had completed a
substance-abuse evaluation and was attending treatment, was
attending doctor appointments with S.M., and visiting with
the child. Her visits were moved to semi-supervised.
thereafter, IDHS learned a release was no longer in place
with Sarrina's substance abuse treatment center-that is,
IDHS no longer had access to any information from the center.
IDHS advised Sarrina to reinstate a release or visits would
return to fully supervised. When no release was signed,
visits were moved to fully supervised on July 21. ...