IN THE INTEREST OF C.E., Minor Child, A.E., Mother, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Montgomery County, Amy L.
Zacharias, District Associate Judge.
mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to her
now-one-year-old son. AFFIRMED.
R. Wyatt of Woods & Wyatt, P.L.L.C., Glenwood, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Ana Dixit, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
L. Mailander of Mailander Law Office, Anita, guardian ad
litem for minor child.
Considered by Danilson, C.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.
mother, Ashley, appeals the juvenile court's order
terminating her parental relationship with now-one-year-old
C.E. Her main argument for reversal is that the Iowa
Department of Human Services (DHS) placed too much emphasis
on a September 2015 psychological evaluation expressing the
pessimistic view that her parenting deficiencies would not
improve over time. Ashley also contends the DHS incorrectly
believed her speech impediment-a motor-skills disorder called
apraxia-constituted an intellectual disability that hindered
her parenting skills. After independently reviewing the
record,  we conclude neither of those issues
clouded the juvenile court's judgment in the
child-welfare proceedings. Like the juvenile court, we find
clear and convincing evidence in the record to support
terminating Ashley's parental rights to her son.
Facts and Prior Proceedings
late July 2016, C.E. was removed from the care of his mother
while still in the hospital. The removal was prompted by the
concerns of a child protection worker who had observed Ashley
struggling to meet the basic needs of her older child, J.E.,
who had been previously removed from Ashley's
care.The child protection worker described
Ashley's "disengagement" during interactions
with J.E.-Ashley would "be texting even while
feeding" the baby and "slightly slapped
[J.E.'s] hand and said 'bad girl' while [J.E.
was] drinking her bottle." The DHS exhibit in support of
C.E.'s removal also included the following quotations
from a psychological evaluation of Ashley completed by Dr.
Rosanna Jones-Thurman on September 14, 2015:
[T]he examiner believes that [Ashley] will continue to show
obviously the low cognitive functioning, which will not
change over time, but a minimization of responsibility and
accountability, as well as not acknowledging some of the
issues and problems as they are. Certainly there appear to be
difficulties with understanding correct parenting and Ashley
really shows no emotion here today.
Certainly there appear to be some significant mental health
issues and problems here that will not go away with any
amount of counseling or education. At this point in time, the
examiner would not recommend that [Ashley] have her child
back even with family supervision as it appears that there
are too many negative and hostile dynamics within the family
hearing on C.E.'s removal in early August 2016,
Ashley's attorney complained the State "cherry
picked" language from Dr. Jones-Thurman's report
favorable to its position. In its temporary-removal order,
the court approved a second psychological evaluation for
Ashley "to determine if there has been any progress
made." C.E. was placed with a foster family.
September 2016, Ashley had three two-hour supervised visits
with C.E. each week. The Boys Town FSRP (family safety, risk
and permanency) worker allowed Ashley's mother and sister
to attend the interactions. According to the FSRP reports,
Ashley struggled with calming C.E. when he was fussy and
passed him to her mother when he cried. On September 22,
2016, the juvenile ...