IN THE INTEREST OF R.L., Minor Child, M.O., Mother, Appellant, C.L., Father, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan C. Cox,
District Associate Judge.
mother and father separately appeal from the order
terminating their parental rights.
A. Macro of Macro & Kozlowski, L.L.P., West Des Moines,
for appellant mother.
Beavers, of Tod J. Beavers, P.C., Des Moines, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
P. Vogel of Vogel Law, P.L.L.C., Des Moines, for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
DANILSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
mother and father separately appeal from the termination of
their parental rights to their child, R.L. Both parents
assert termination is not in R.L.'s best interests and
Iowa Code section 232.116(3) (2017) exceptions apply to
preclude the need for termination. Due to the parents'
histories of substance abuse, and failure to engage in
services and to demonstrate an ability to parent R.L., we
conclude termination is in R.L.'s best interests and no
section 232.116(3) exception applies. We therefore affirm.
was born to the mother and father in December 2014. The
parents are unmarried. The family came to the attention of
the department of human services (DHS) in May 2015 when R.L.
was admitted to the hospital for seizures caused by brain
injuries consistent with child abuse. The incident resulted
in a founded child-abuse assessment by DHS, noting the
perpetrator was unknown. In June 2015, the mother and father
both tested positive for THC. R.L. was removed from their
care on June 29, 2015, and placed with his maternal
parents have extensive substance-abuse histories. The mother
completed treatment during the pendency of this matter, but
did not participate in aftercare and refused to submit to
drug testing by patch. The father also completed outpatient
substance-abuse treatment, but only attended continuing care
for approximately one month. The father refused requested
drug testing during this case and admitted to a relapse in
June or July of 2016.
parents have a history of domestic violence. They were no
longer in a relationship at the time of the termination
December 2016, the father was convicted of third-degree
burglary and second-degree theft and was given a deferred
judgment. However, the father was subsequently incarcerated
due to an arrest for forgery. The father was incarcerated at
the time of the termination hearing.
parents demonstrated inconsistent participation in DHS
services. The mother missed Family Safety, Risk and
Permanency (FSRP) meetings, and did not consistently attend
individual counseling. The father did not attend all
scheduled interactions with R.L. and missed a number of FSRP
meetings. The father discontinued participation in all DHS
services in June 2016, stating he wished to voluntarily
terminate his parental rights to R.L. The father ...