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In re D.K.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 17, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF D.K. and I.K., Minor Children, M.F., Mother, Appellant.

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

         A mother appeals from the order terminating her parental rights. AFFIRMED.

          Matthew D. Hatch of Hatch Law Firm, P.C., Bettendorf, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Anagha Dixit, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Marsha J. McDowell Arnold, Davenport, for minor children.

          Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ. Tabor, J., takes no part.

          BOWER, Judge.

         A mother appeals from the order terminating her parental rights.[1] She claims the State did not present sufficient evidence to support termination and termination is not in the children's best interests. We find there was sufficient evidence to terminate her parental rights and termination is in the children's best interest. Accordingly, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         D.K. was born in 2010, and I.K. was born in 2012. The Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) became involved with the family in December 2015. DHS investigated allegations of child abuse, and hair tests of I.K. were positive for methamphetamine. D.K.'s hair was too short to be tested. The mother began a substance abuse treatment program, but she was unsuccessfully discharged.

         In early February 2016, the children were found wandering in the street several blocks from the mother's apartment. The mother agreed to a voluntary out-of-home placement on February 3 but revoked it six days later. DHS asked for and received an ex parte removal order and the children remained out of the mother's care. The children were adjudicated children in need of assistance (CINA) on February 19.

         Visitation between the children and the mother began, and a transition plan was put in place, as the mother was progressing in recovery. On March 29, the children were returned to the mother's care on a trial basis but were removed again less than a month later when I.K.'s hair test was again positive for methamphetamine. D.K.'s hair was still too short to be tested. The mother returned to an inpatient substance abuse program but was again discharged before completing the program.

         Following the removal in April, the mother stopped participating in services. She completed a substance-abuse evaluation but did not begin the substance-abuse program she intended to enter. She lost her apartment and was homeless for a period. The juvenile court found that while she did participate in visitation, "the visits have never gone very well and the mother's participation in the visits has been sporadic and generally she is unprepared, gets there late, and leaves early." Additionally, at one visit D.K. found drug paraphernalia and weapons while playing with the mother's purse.

         The mother's therapist terminated their relationship after the mother failed to attend appointments. The mother then obtained a mental health evaluation from another provider. She also refused to comply with drug testing, missed parenting classes, and discharged herself against the ...


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