IN THE INTEREST OF L.M., Minor Child, K.L., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Page County, Amy Zacharias,
District Associate Judge.
incarcerated mother appeals the termination of her parental
rights to her one-year-old daughter. REVERSED AND REMANDED
FOR FURTHER PROCEEEDINGS.
R. Wyatt of Woods & Wyatt, P.L.L.C., Glenwood, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Tabitha J. Gardner,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
M. Hart of Reisinger Booth and Associates, P.C. L.L.O.,
Omaha, Nebraska, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
mother, Katherine, appeals a juvenile court order terminating
her parental rights to her one-year-old daughter, L.M.
Katherine alleges that after removing L.M. from her care, the
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) failed to make
reasonable efforts to provide reunification services by not
offering any visitation opportunities following her
incarceration at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women
(ICIW) in Mitchellville. Katherine-who testified she had been
granted parole-asks us to reverse the termination order and
delay permanency for six months to afford her the chance to
engage in meaningful contact with her daughter.
Standard of Review
review child-welfare appeals de novo, which means we examine
both the facts and law and adjudicate anew those issues
properly preserved and presented. See In re L.G.,
532 N.W.2d 478, 480 (Iowa Ct. App. 1995).
Facts and Prior Proceedings
birth in late December 2015, L.M. tested positive for
amphetamines, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepine. Before the
newborn left the hospital, she was removed from the care of
her mother, Katherine. Katherine had only attended one
prenatal appointment and admitted using methamphetamine up to
the day before she gave birth to L.M. The DHS placed L.M. in
foster care and she has remained with the same family
throughout the course of this case.
first offered Katherine visitation with L.M. on January 5,
2016, at the residence of Katherine's mother. According
to the DHS report, "Katherine appeared to be loving
toward [L.M.] during the interaction, but seemed unsure of
herself. She had diapers and some outfits for [L.M.].
Katherine asked about the type of formula [L.M.] was
using." Katherine's boyfriend called to say he
and Katherine had overslept for a second visit scheduled for
January 6. The DHS worker required Katherine to confirm
future visits two hours in advance, which she failed to do
for a visit scheduled for January 8.
January 10, 2016, Katherine was arrested for conspiracy to
deliver methamphetamine and held in the Fremont County jail.
On February 4, the juvenile court held a hearing on the
State's petition to adjudicate L.M. as a child in need of
assistance (CINA). At that hearing, Katherine's attorney
asked for the DHS to facilitate visitation: "If there is
any possible way we can have any visitation between mom and
child, given the setting, I would like to ...