IN THE INTEREST OF Z.S., Minor Child, B.S., Father, Appellant, K.B., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Susan C. Cox,
District Associate Judge.
mother and father separately appeal the termination of their
parental rights to their four-year-old son. AFFIRMED ON BOTH
R. Gravett of Oliver Gravett Law Firm, Windsor Heights, for
P. Graves of Graves Law Firm, P.C., Clive, for appellant
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Wolle of Juvenile Public Defender's Office, Des Moines,
guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
mother, Kelsey, and a father, Brad, separately appeal the
juvenile court order terminating their parental relationship
with their four-year-old son, Z.S. Kelsey argues the State
failed to prove a statutory basis for termination,
termination was not in Z.S.'s best interests, and the
juvenile court should have declined to terminate because the
maternal grandmother had custody of Z.S. Brad contends the
Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) failed to make
reasonable efforts to provide reunification services by not
offering visitation while he was incarcerated. He also argues
termination was not in Z.S.'s best interests. Upon our
independent review of the record,  we find clear and convincing
evidence supporting the conclusions of the district court.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
November 2014, one-and-a-half-year-old Z.S. came to the
attention of the DHS through a report Kelsey and Brad were
using methamphetamine. Both parents tested positive for the
drug, and Kelsey also tested positive for
tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active component of
marijuana. Kelsey immediately entered inpatient treatment at
House of Mercy with Z.S., but she left after three days,
instead opting for an outpatient treatment program. Brad too
entered outpatient substance-abuse treatment, and he reached
maximum benefits from the program in late March. His provider
recommended continuing care, in which Brad participated
inconsistently. Both parents completed psychological
assessments resulting in recommendations for therapy. Kelsey
did not seek treatment; Brad attended therapy sporadically.
juvenile court adjudicated Z.S. a child in need of assistance
(CINA) on April 21, 2015, following an uncontested hearing.
The court determined Kelsey was no longer using illegal drugs
and allowed Z.S. to remain in her care. Brad remained in the
home, but the DHS required his contact with Z.S. to be
supervised by Kelsey.
the adjudication, Kelsey successfully completed
substance-abuse treatment. But as time went on, conflict
between Kelsey and Brad intensified. The two separated in
early November 2015, shortly after Brad was arrested for
driving without a license. On November 9, at Kelsey's
request, the district court issued an order prohibiting Brad
from having contact with her.
receiving notice of the no-contact order, Brad sent text
messages to Kelsey and DHS social workers leading them to
believe he had attempted to commit suicide. Brad, who had a
history of suicidal ideation, eventually admitted himself to
the local hospital for mental-health treatment. But he did
not seek regular treatment after his release.
the no-contact order remained in effect, in February 2016,
Brad moved back in with Kelsey. Kelsey also began allowing
Brad to have unsupervised contact with Z.S. Brad was arrested
for violating the no-contact order in March 2016. Z.S. was in
his care at the time. As a result of the arrest, the district
court revoked Brad's probation for possession of a
controlled substance as an habitual offender, and he remained
incarcerated for the balance of the case.
juvenile court ordered Z.S.'s removal from Kelsey's
care that same month. The DHS eventually placed Z.S. with his