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In re E.T.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF E.T., J.T., B.G., and M.E., Minor Children E.T., Father Appellant, D.L.-T., Mother, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Joseph W. Seidlin, District Associate Judge.

         A father and mother appeal separately from the order terminating their parental rights. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.

          John C. Heinicke of Kragnes & Associates, P.C., Des Moines, for appellant father of E.T. and J.T.

          Colin R. McCormack of Van Cleaf and McCormack, Des Moines, for appellant mother.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen White Kraemer, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          John P. Jellineck, Juvenile Public Defender, Des Moines, for minor children.

          Nicole Garbis Nolan and Charles Fuson of the Youth Law Center, Des Moines, guardians ad litem for minor children.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          BOWER, Judge.

         A father and mother appeal separately from the order terminating their parental rights.[1] We find sufficient evidence to support the termination of both the mother's and father's rights pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(f) and (h) (2017). We also find no exceptions to termination apply and termination is in the best interests of the children. We affirm the juvenile court.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         The four children came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) when J.T. tested positive for methamphetamine at birth. Both the mother and father denied use of methamphetamines, though both had multiple drug tests return positive. The four children were found to be children in need of assistance and removed from the parents' care. During the CINA action the juvenile court found the parents were offered reasonable efforts to work toward reunification. The permanency plan adopted by the juvenile court required the parents to address their substance-abuse, mental-health, housing, and domestic-violence issues.

         The mother successfully completed outpatient substance abuse treatment but then once again tested positive for methamphetamine use. The father was unsuccessfully discharged, tested positive for methamphetamine use, and failed to complete a relapse prevention program. Neither parent reentered treatment. The mother claims her positive drug tests were caused by allergy medication, but she is unable to provide evidence to demonstrate this and has not stopped taking or changed the medication. The mother attended therapy for only two months, and the father attended therapy only once.

         Review hearings were held August 9 and October 12, 2016. The juvenile court continued its prior orders and ordered additional services including family team meetings, adjustments in the visitation schedule to accommodate the father's work schedule, and psychological evaluations. The juvenile court again found reasonable efforts were being made. On February 28, 2017, a permanency hearing was held. The juvenile court found the parents had not sufficiently addressed their substance-abuse, mental-health, housing, or domestic-violence issues. The therapist for B.G. and M.E. testified the children were told by the mother DHS lies and cannot be trusted. All visits between the parents and children were fully supervised and did not progress beyond that stage. Both the mother and ...


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