IN THE INTEREST OF J.P., Minor Child, J.D., Mother, Petitioner-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W.
Seidlin, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals from the termination of her parental rights.
Jessica Maffitt of Benzoni Law Office, P.L.C., Des Moines,
for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Charles K. Phillips,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
P. Jellineck of the Public Defender's Office, Des Moines,
for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
mother appeals from the termination of her parental
rights. Because we find the State has made
reasonable efforts to reunify the mother and child, and
because there is clear and convincing evidence to support
termination pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(h)
(2016), termination is in the child's best interests, and
no permissive factor weighs against termination, we affirm
the termination of the mother's parental rights.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
child was born in September 2015 and came to the attention of
the juvenile court on October 13, 2015, after the mother
contacted the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) and
reported that she was unable to care for the child because
her mental-health, substance-abuse, and childhood-trauma
issues were more than she could bear at that
time. The mother (age thirty at the time of the
termination hearing) has a significant history of trauma,
mental-health disorders and substance abuse. She has been
diagnosed with seizure disorder, bipolar disorder,
schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, major
depression disorder, split personality disorder, and mild
mental retardation. She has struggled with these
mental-health concerns since she was fourteen years old. The
juvenile court entered a temporary removal order with the
mother's consent. The child was placed in the temporary
legal custody of DHS for foster care. On October 21, an order
confirming the removal was entered.
December 4, the court entered an order adjudicating the child
in need of assistance (CINA) pursuant to Iowa Code section
232.2(6)(k) and (n). The adjudication order states:
The Court has inquired of the parties as to the sufficiency
of services being provided and whether additional services
are needed to facilitate the safe return of the child to the
home and finds the following services shall be or continue to
be offered: visits at DHS discretion; [Family Safety, Risk,
and Permanency] FSRP services; mental health and substance
abuse treatment for mother; substance abuse evaluation for
putative father; paternity testing; housing assistance for
the mother; transportation assistance for the mother;
parenting classes for the mother.
January 13, 2016, the juvenile court entered a dispositional
order, continuing the child in foster care and adopting a
case permanency plan, which required the mother to
participate in supervised visitation at DHS discretion and
participate in Family Safety, Risk, and Permanency (FSRP)
services and comply with all FSRP recommendations, as well as
participate in substance-abuse therapy and comply with all
therapy recommendations. The mother was also required to
address her mental-health concerns by participating in
therapy and taking her medication as prescribed and working
with a domestic-violence advocate in either a group or
individual setting. The court wrote:
8. The court inquired of the parties as to the sufficiency of
services being provided and whether additional services are
needed to facilitate the safe return to or maintenance of the
child in the home. Based on this inquiry, the Court finds
that the mother requests additional visits. DHS is in
agreement and is working to facilitate more frequent visits.
9. The Court advises the parties that failure to identify a
deficiency in services may preclude the party from
challenging the sufficiency of services in a termination of
parental rights proceeding.
10. Reasonable efforts have been made to eliminate
or prevent the need for removal of the child from the home
and to finalize any permanency plan in effect and to maintain
sibling contact; these services include those set
forth in State's Exhibit 9, incorporated herein by
hearings were held on March 16, May 3, and August 3, 2016.
The March ...