IN THE INTEREST OF A.L., L.L., P.H., and B.H., Minor Children, H.H., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Gary P.
Strausser, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the juvenile court order terminating her
parental relationship with four children. AFFIRMED.
Jeffrey L. Powell of The Law Office of Jeffrey L. Powell,
P.L.C., Washington, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Christine E. Boyer, Iowa City, guardian ad litem for minor
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
don't think that I have a problem." This testimony
from Holly, a mother who denied that substance abuse remained
an obstacle to reuniting with her children, did not ring true
for the juvenile court. The court ended Holly's parental
relationship with four children: seventeen-year-old A.L.,
eleven-year-old L.L., seven-year-old P.H., and five-year-old
Holly challenges the court's order both on the statutory
grounds for termination and on the best-interests
determination. She asks for additional time for
reunification. After examining the record and the law, we
defer to the juvenile court's credibility findings and
reach the same conclusions regarding the welfare of the
Facts and Prior Proceedings
family came to the attention of the Iowa Department of Human
Services (DHS) in early December 2015 based on a report Holly
and her paramour were using methamphetamine while caring for
the children. According to the DHS investigation, Holly
expressed paranoid beliefs and would stay up all night before
crashing and sleeping for the entire day. The youngest
child, B.H., tested positive for exposure to methamphetamine.
Because Holly had not paid the water bill or rent, the family
faced the loss of utilities and possible
eviction.The children went to live with Holly's
sister and remained in their aunt's home throughout the
April 2016, the juvenile court adjudicated A.L., L.L., P.H.,
and B.H as CINA, finding they were "imminently likely to
suffer adjudicable harm due to their mother's use of
methamphetamine." In May 2016, Holly underwent a
substance-abuse evaluation, which concluded she met "the
criteria for amphetamine use disorder/mild and unspecified
cannabis use disorder." Holly did not complete the
recommended outpatient treatment.
and her paramour did not have steady employment or housing
during the summer and fall of 2016. They were evicted from a
rental house in August, lived at a motel for several months,
and then moved in with relatives.
use continued to be an issue. In September 2016, Holly tested
positive for methamphetamine, and the next month, she tested
positive for amphetamines, which the treatment staff
attributed to methamphetamine use. But Holly continued to
deny using drugs. Holly refused to undergo further drug
testing until February 2017. She also revoked the releases
allowing the treatment provider to share information with the
was inconsistent in her visitations with the
children. In the words of the DHS worker:
"[S]he really ebbs and flows." Holly missed five of
the ten offered ...