IN THE INTEREST OF J.D., Minor Child, J.G., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Cheryl E.
Traum, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights.
AFFIRMED. Matthew A. Quinn of the Law Office of Matthew
Quinn, Bettendorf, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
W. Stickle of Stickle Law Firm, P.L.C., Davenport, for minor
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
DANILSON, Chief Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(b), (d), (e), (g),
(h), (i), (k), and (l) (2017).
affirm if any of the grounds for termination have been shown
by clear and convincing evidence. See In re D.W.,
791 N.W.2d 703, 707 (Iowa 2010). On our de novo review,
see id. at 706, we find clear and convincing
evidence to support termination of parental rights pursuant
to subparagraph (h).Moreover, we do not find the need for
removal will no longer exist at the end of six months and,
therefore, the juvenile court did not err in denying the
mother an extension of time to seek reunification. Nor does
any section 232.116(3)(c) factor weigh against termination.
We conclude termination of the mother's rights is in the
child's best interest, and we affirm.
department of human services (DHS) involvement with the
mother from August 2011 to November 2012 and again from
September 2014 to September 2015, the mother had her parental
rights to three older children terminated in September 2015.
As noted by the juvenile court, the issues in those previous
cases included "lack of stable housing, the children
being left unattended or with unsafe individuals, parental
substance abuse, and [parental] mental health concerns."
mother gave birth to a child, J.D., in May 2016. The child
tested positive for THC at birth, which prompted a DHS
child-abuse assessment. The mother was not cooperative, and
DHS was not able to locate the child for about two weeks, at
which time the child was removed from the mother's care.
The child was adjudicated a CINA on July 26, and a
dispositional order was entered on September 1. The child has
remained in foster-care placement since being removed from
the mother's care. A petition to terminate the
mother's parental rights to J.D. was filed on December
mother has several diagnoses, including anxiety and
posttraumatic stress. The mother was hospitalized for
mental-health treatment in November 2016. She also struggles
with substance abuse. At the termination hearing on March 7,
2017, Kerri Griffiths, the social worker assigned to the
case, testified, "I have not received a drug test that
had a negative drug test for illegal substances."
mother did not consistently participate in parent-child
visitation, substance-abuse treatment services, or
mental-health treatment services for several months. While
the mother became more consistent in participating in
services in December 2016, her visits with the child have
been "inconsistent at best." According to the
testimony at trial, the mother had attended only ten visits
in the prior six months. The mother was first offered three
visits per week. The mother saw the child three times in
September 2016, once in October, and then not again until
December when there were "a few visits, " once in
January 2017, and once on February 3. All visits have been
supervised. At the time of the March 2017 hearing, the mother
had only recently (in the prior thirty days) reengaged with
substance-abuse treatment, found housing with the assistance
of Veteran's Affairs, and obtained employment through
Goodwill. Griffiths testified the mother remains
"emotionally fragile" and unable to parent a child.
child was ten months old at the time of the termination trial
and had been out of the mother's care most of the
child's life. The child had been in the same foster home
for the past seven months, was integrated into the family,
and looked to the foster parents to meet the child's
needs. The foster family indicates a willingness to adopt the
child and provide long-term care. We conclude termination of
the mother's parental rights is in the child's best
appeal, the mother contends she should have been granted
additional time to seek reunification. We disagree. "A
parent cannot wait until the eve of termination, after the
statutory time periods for reunification have expired, to
begin to express an interest in parenting." In re
C.B., 611 N.W.2d 489, 495 (Iowa 2000). In addition, in
order to grant an extension of time, the court must find the
need for the child's removal will no longer exist at the
end of the additional six-month period. See Iowa
Code § 232.104(2)(b). We cannot make such a finding
here. The record belies the mother's claim that the child
is bonded with the mother. In any event, there is
not "clear and convincing evidence that the
termination would be detrimental to the child at the time due
to the closeness of ...