IN THE INTEREST OF Z.R., Minor Child, C.R., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, Craig
M. Dreismeier, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals from an order terminating her parental rights
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 232 (2017). AFFIRMED.
Joseph Narmi, Council Bluffs, for appellant mother.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Kathryn K. Lang, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Roberta J. Megel of State Public Defender Office, Council
Bluffs, guardian ad litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
juvenile court terminated Chelsea's parental rights in
her child, Z.R., pursuant to Iowa Code section 232.116(1)(e),
(h), and (l) (2017). In this appeal, Chelsea
challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the
statutory grounds authorizing termination of her parental
rights, argues the State failed to make reasonable efforts
towards reunification, challenges the denial of her request
to defer permanency for six months, challenges the
determination that termination of her parental rights was in
the best interest of her child, and contends permissive
considerations should preclude the termination of her
is the biological mother of three children, J.M. (born 2005),
L.S. (born 2009), and Z.R. (born 2015), and she is pregnant
with a fourth child. She is married to Z.R.'s father,
family has a history of involvement with the Iowa Department
of Human Services (IDHS). In 2014, prior to Z.R.'s birth,
an assistance proceeding was opened when IDHS became aware
Chelsea was using methamphetamine. J.M. and L.S. were removed
from her care for a period of time. Ultimately, the case was
closed, and J.M. and L.S. were returned to Chelsea's
instant case was initiated in October 2016. Chelsea was on
probation after being convicted of child endangerment in
2014. Chelsea's probation officer reported Chelsea had
not been complying with drug testing. Chelsea's probation
officer also confirmed the one test Chelsea had provided
showed a positive result for methamphetamine. Based on this
information, all three children were removed from
Chelsea's care. The juvenile court placed J.M. and L.S.
with their respective biological fathers. Upon removal,
Z.R. tested positive for amphetamine, methamphetamine,
opiates, and THC. The juvenile court placed Z.R. in foster
care under the custody of IDHS. Chelsea was ordered to
complete a substance-abuse evaluation, mental-health
evaluation, sign a medical records release, and complete
random drug screens.
made little progress in the months following removal. The
children were adjudicated in need of assistance in December
2016. At that time, Chelsea had not yet completed a
substance-abuse or mental-health evaluation. She denied she
needed substance-abuse treatment. She had not complied with
many of IDHS's drug-test requests. The tests she did
complete showed positive results for THC, methamphetamine,
and opiates. At the time of the dispositional order in
January 2017, Chelsea had completed her substance-abuse
evaluation, but she refused to comply with substance-abuse
treatment recommendations. She continued to deny substance
use despite testing positive for controlled substances and
despite Chelsea's probation officer providing information
showing Chelsea had received six different opiate
prescriptions from three doctors the prior September.
and March were no better than December and January. Chelsea
had not yet obtained a mental-health evaluation. She had not
completed substance-abuse treatment. She continued to deny
substance use, claiming her positive test results were false
positives or were the result of involuntary or unknowing
ingestion of controlled substances. For example, she
contended unbeknownst to her someone put methamphetamine in a
glass from which she was drinking. She was incarcerated for
two separate probation violations. The first period of
incarceration lasted a week. On the second occasion, Chelsea
was arrested on March 9 and remained incarcerated until the
second week of April. At that time, Chelsea was transitioned
to a residential correctional facility. Her visitation with
Z.R. was sporadic at best, and IDHS reduced visitation to
once per week until Chelsea could demonstrate consistency.
Pursuant to the request of Chelsea and Z.R.'s father,
Z.R. was placed with a maternal aunt in Georgia. The maternal
aunt had indicated a willingness to adopt Z.R. should
reunification efforts fail.
April 2017, the State filed its petition to terminate
Chelsea's parental rights. At around this same time,
Chelsea began to show some progress. She obtained employment.
She provided some clean drug tests. Nonetheless, the juvenile
court terminated Chelsea's rights pursuant to Iowa Code
section 232.116(1)(e), (h) and (l). In support of
the order terminating parental rights, the juvenile court
found Chelsea was unable to resume care of the child. Chelsea
was in a ...