IN THE INTEREST OF D.W. and N.W., Minor Children, J.W., Father, Appellant, S.M., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Clinton County, Phillip J.
Tabor, District Associate Judge.
father and a mother appeal separately from the order
terminating their parental rights.
Matthew D. Hatch of Hatch Law Firm, P.C., Bettendorf, for
J. Parker of Parker Law Office, Clinton, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit and Gretchen W.
Kraemer (until withdrawal), Assistant Attorneys General, for
J.David Zimmerman, Clinton, for minor children.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
Tabor, J., takes no part.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
mother and a father appeal separately from the termination of
their parental rights to their two children. Both parents
assert the State did not present clear and convincing
evidence to support the statutory grounds for termination and
termination is not in the children's best interests.
Because neither parent has taken any steps to address their
substance-abuse issues or to comply with the case plan
requirements, we conclude grounds for termination of both
parents' rights have been established and termination is
in the children's best interests. We therefore affirm.
Background Facts & Proceedings.
age four, and N.W., not yet age one, are the children of the
mother and the father, who are unmarried. The department of
human services (DHS) became involved with the family when
N.W. tested positive for THC and methamphetamine at birth.
The children were removed from the parents' care on June
7, 2016. Shortly after removal, D.W. was also tested and
found to be positive for methamphetamine.
mother entered inpatient substance-abuse treatment in July
2016, but was unsuccessfully discharged in October 2016 after
relapsing and using methamphetamine. The mother regularly
participated in visitation with the children while in
treatment. However, after being unsuccessfully discharged,
the mother attended only two visits with the children, the
last being November 14, 2016. The mother failed to seek
additional substance-abuse treatment, attend parenting
meetings, maintain communication with the DHS case manager,
address her mental-health issues, appear for requested drug
testing, or obtain a residence or employment.
father participated in more visits with the children than the
mother, but his participation was sporadic. The father missed
six visits in October, nine in November, four in December,
and eleven in January, for a total of thirty missed visits in
the four months before the termination hearing. The father
missed some visits after previously confirming that he would
attend, which had a detrimental effect on D.W. The father did
not attend parenting meetings, obtain a psychological
evaluation or mental health therapy, or report for drug
testing. The father was incarcerated on a number of occasions
throughout the pendency of the case-including at the time of
the termination hearing-and had pending criminal charges. The
father did not maintain steady employment or a stable
residence throughout DHS involvement and did not have a
residence at the time of the termination hearing.
termination hearing was held February 2, 2017. In a February
6 order, the district court terminated the mother's
parental rights to D.W. pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.116(1)(b), (d), (e), (f), and (I) (2017). It
terminated the mother's parental rights to N.W. pursuant
to section 232.116(1)(b), (d), (e), (h), and (l).
The father's parental rights as to D.W. were terminated
under section 232.116(1)(d), (e), (f), ...